On Feb. 21, Lakeway City Council approved amending its noise ordinance to require certain businesses to get a permit to have amplified outdoor sound.

The amendment requires businesses such as restaurants and bars that receive at least two outdoor noise-related complaints from two different people during a two-year period to apply for an outdoor amplified sound permit.

“This gives City Council the opportunity to address the problem locations without unnecessarily adding another layer of regulation to those businesses that aren’t generating (complaints),” said Shannon Burke, Lakeway Building and Development Services director.

If a business draws multiple outdoor noise-related complaints over a two-year period, the business owner will be notified that he or she must get a permit to continue having outdoor sound, Burke said. The business owner will have to apply for a permit and a public notice will be sent to everyone living within 200 feet of the business’ property line, Burke said.

The outdoor noise permit application will be presented to the Zoning and Planning Commission for recommendation and to City Council for final approval. If approved, the permit will last for 10 years and can be suspended if a judge rules the permit’s terms were violated, Burke said.

In previous meetings, City Council members debated requiring all businesses that have amplified outdoor sound to get a permit. Councilman Joe Bain said he was hesitant to approve an ordinance that is based on complaints, though he added he was fairly happy with how the ordinance turned out.

“None of the people I have seen where we have noise issues are very bashful, so I don’t think it will be an issue of people complaining,” he said.


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