Only a few tickets written in Houston noise ordinance's first month, HPD data shows

The ordinance, created with the Washington Corridor in mind, began in September.

Chaz Miller Image
Monday, October 10, 2022
4 tickets issued after 1 month of Washington Corridor noise ordinance
Houston police's "loud noise unit" wrote just four tickets a month into a new ordinance's rollout, but leaders urge patience before judging success.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The City of Houston's new noise ordinance went into effect on Sept. 6, so how do residents of the often-noisy Washington Corridor feel about the job it's doing?

"I wish I could say it's good," resident Steven Devadanam said. "I appreciate the effort, but the noise continues every night."

The ordinance doubled the maximum fine businesses could receive for violations, in addition to establishing a sound permit that must be purchased if a business uses amplified sound within close proximity to residences.

The ordinance is enforced by the Houston Police Department, who has created a "loud noise unit" that only responds to noise complaints during weekends and other peak hours in the central part of the city.

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

"I do think the disparity between the number of complaints and citations written is too wide, and I will be tracking this carefully and asking HPD about it," Houston City Councilmember Sallie Alcorn said, noting it's still early in the ordinance's rollout as part of her statement to ABC13. "The goal here is to bring problem bars into compliance so nearby residents can get some peace."

While there haven't been many tickets issued, proponents of the new ordinance say the establishment of the sound permit gives the City of Houston more power against noisy bars and clubs, as it allows them to call hearings and revoke the permit for repeat offenders.

Mark Fairchild, a Washington Corridor resident who worked with officials to create the new ordinance, says that's what makes him hopeful this will ultimately be successful.

"We're in the first inning of a nine-inning game," Fairchild said. "I think it's too early in the game in terms of being able to judge whether the changes to the sound ordinance will have the intended effect."

District C Councilmember Abbie Kamin also remains hopeful things will ultimately get quieter for residents who live near noisy establishments.

"This solution is narrow enough so that the city has more teeth when it comes to reining in the few bad actor bars and nightclubs, while continuing to support our local businesses and neighborhoods," Kamin said in a statement.

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

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