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.”

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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.



  1. Wonder how this will affect big outdoor events in mixed-use areas, for example First Friday on the Green, Arts Goggle, and the West Berry Block Party. Could also have an impact on big-name events, Main Street Arts Festival coming immediately to mind. Lots of apartments and potential ‘complainers’ downtown nowadays, too.

  2. What is wrong with this city. First city to pass this in the state of Texas? Are you kidding me. How can the city council justify this decision at all.

  3. I want to thank the Mayor and all the Council Members for passing this law.

    Your noise has no right to infringe into my house. I have a Sonic a mile away from me that use to play music outside so loud I could hear it. If I went there to order something the person inside was constantly asking “what?” and I had to yell into the speaker to get my order heard. How annoying and totally uncalled for is that? I won’t even go into the neighbors across the street partying in their garage every weekend and the sound amplifying out and into my house. Or the days he spent working on his car and once again the noise amplifying into my home. You like loud noise? Go into your house close the windows and doors and put on your headphones…real loud….just the way you like it.

    Now the question is….will the police enforce it? I’d like to see a ticket issued after the second offense and the fine doubled each time they are called out after that. Some people just don’t understand until it effects their pocketbook.
    Once again…..THANK YOU!

    • Great comment! I could not have said it better myself! My neighbors behind me apparently think it’s fine to allow their kids (and their kids’ friends) to scream and holler as loud as they want wile playing. Well, I’m waiting as I write this for FWPD to pay them an educational visit…..

  4. @Sad Musician. Who gives a shit about those events. The only one worth caring about is the Weekly Music Awards Festival: 48 Fort Worth bands in the West 7th corridor all day long. Now in its 10th year. (Just kidding about those other events. They’re all just dandy.) But I hear what you’re saying.

    @riorico. I completely agree with you. But you don’t live in an entertainment district. If you chose to live in an entertainment district — or by right by an airport — you’d better be prepared for LOUD NOISES. Or pack up your shit and move to a residential neighborhood. Not that that’s necessarily any better (neighbors’ parties, barking dogs, motorcycles, lawn mowers at 6am, etc.).

  5. I agree Anthony. I saw some woman complaining about train noise and thought “Those tracks were there the day you bought your house.” Some things make sense and others just don’t. I just hope the police enforce it. Me experience tells me not to be too hopeful. 🙁 On an upnote though maybe this mayor will change business as usual in Fort Worth.

  6. Well, what about life band with extremely loud drums 5 to 6 times a year, we live just a few blocks from The Grand Plaza. The problem is we are at a residential area. Can’t call the police, cause they want your name and this people have BIG GUNS, what to do?

  7. One of the reasons I don’t like living in fort Worth is that the police don’t enforce the noise ordinance over here on Townsend drive fort Worth I live at 3218 Townsend drums every Friday all join the week we have loud music from 6 in the morning to 10 at night I work six days a week and I can’t even go to sleep until the noise is done I like to go to bed at 7:30 but I can’t because of all the noise that’s why it’s great to live in the H-E-B area they don’t have dogs running around loose like they do here in fort Worth they don’t have this noise that you can’t sleep without the loud drums you call and report things but nothing ever gets done these are some of the downfalls of living in fort Worth and I can’t believe it because I’m so close to the TCU area I mean the college is just down the street I can see if it was a gameday or game night but this is a regular week and weekend that you getting all this noise people have to work

  8. it would seem like the fort Worth Police would do something or patrol these areas a little bit better to make sure that the residents are okay and that the noise ordinance is being enforced

  9. FWPD won’t enforce. What good is a “protective” ordinance that is supposed to keep your home relatively quiet, especially pre-dawn hours if FWPD wont enforce? I’ve documented with video and they just ignore. City attorney argues and mayor is silent.