HPD's 'loud-noise unit' now enforcing ordinance to stem Washington Corridor nuisance

Chaz Miller Image
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
'Loud Noise Unit' launches to stem 14-year Washington Corridor issue
It's a problem that has plagued longtime Washington Avenue-adjacent residents for more than a decade. Now, with a Houston noise ordinance in effect, they hope a new police division will see enforcement through.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Officials from the City of Houston held a press conference to discuss the new noise ordinance that went into effect Tuesday.

The ordinance was passed in May and is a welcome relief for residents of the Washington Corridor who have been urging officials for years that something needed to be done about the noisy bars in the neighborhood.

SEE ALSO: Noise ordinance, catalytic converter theft tops Houston City Council's agenda

"Every Thursday through Sunday, it gets really loud here," resident Blake Chambers said.

What's in the new ordinance?

Establishments that use amplified sound detectable outdoors, and are within 300 feet of a residence, will need to purchase a commercial establishment sound permit that will go to the business, as opposed to an individual.

There will also be time and decibel limits on amplified sound, no such sound at all from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m., and an increase in the maximum fine from $1,000 to $2,000.

Repeat violators could have their permits revoked, and it's up to the Houston Police Department to enforce these new rules.

HPD has created a loud-noise unit to deal with noise complaints during peak weekend hours. It will respond to noise complaints on Washington Avenue, in addition to Midtown.

"If we did not address it in that way, we would be pulling other units off the streets that were dealing with violent crime," HPD Assistant Chief Thomas Hardin said.

He added that more overtime and manpower would also be coming to the area around Washington's bars and clubs.

Stacie Fairchild, who believes the ordinance will make a difference, said HPD has worked with Washington Corridor residents to fight noise complaints over the years. She hopes the relationship will grow as the new ordinance is enforced.

"You have to start on paper," she said of the ordinance. "We got (that part) in place. Now we need HPD to do their part."

When the ordinance passed in May, at-large Councilmember Sallie Alcorn praised residents for using their voices to make a difference.

"I think these changes represent an important step in improving the quality of life in many Houston neighborhoods," Alcorn said. "Thanks for fighting for your quality of life."

SEE ALSO: After thousands of noise complaints in Houston neighborhood, this new tool may help

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