Sound Police Are Coming
On Tuesday Fort Worth city council passed a noise ordinance, becoming one of only several large metropolises with specific limits on sound.
In business areas, police can issue citations for noises louder than 70 decibels at night, 80 during the day. In residential neighborhoods, the limits are even less forgiving: 60 decibels at night, 70 during the day.
A professional sound engineer, according to NBC-5, argued that the limits are too strict, saying, “An acoustic guitar –– played with the fingers from one foot away –– is 80 decibels.”
The sound will be measured from the property line of the complainer, not the source.
For people in residential areas where idiotic children blast bass-heavy music, the ordinance could prove to be a blessing. (But I don’t think the cops can do anything about stupid motorcycles or stupid barking dogs.)
But for businesses, especially businesses in mixed-use areas? The ordinance could prove to be their downfall.
We’ve been hearing for months about residents downtown and in West 7th complaining about loud music outside their apartments, and we’ve all scratched our heads and thought, “Hmmm. Why would anyone with a brain complain about entertainment outside their door after moving into an entertainment district?!”
For city councilmembers, the success of the very places that give Fort Worth its particularly funky flavor –– Fred’s Texas Café, Lola’s Saloon, The Grotto –– is not a priority. The main point is to please big-spending developers. City council doesn’t get that the reason people want to live, work, stay, and play here is that there is a Fred’s and a Lola’s and a Grotto. You think Fort Worth would be as (allegedly) cool as it is if there were a Bennigan’s on every corner? Of course not.
The good thing is that maybe not every place with running water will want to host live music. Sometimes people just want to go to the bar and watch the damn Rangers or Stars game or play the jukebox.