Community Impact Newspaper has learned that The Westin Austin Downtown hotel and The Nook Amphitheater have reached a settlement in a lawsuit over loud music the hotel claimed was a nuisance to its customers. The hotel sued the club for $1 million in damages late last year for disturbances attributed to the Sixth Street nightclub’s loud music.
According to emails obtained by Community Impact Newspaper, the two sides reached an agreement that has the Westin Hotel, 310 E. Fifth St., Austin, paying for sound mitigation technology and its installation inside the nightclub, located at 309 E. Sixth St. Eric Taube, attorney for the Westin, confirmed the settlement but said the details were confidential and declined to comment further.
If the details of the settlement are correct, the solution would align with the Agent of Change Principle, outlined in Mayor Steve Adler’s Music and Creative Ecosystem Omnibus Resolution. The resolution sought recommendations and policy solutions to questions raised by Austin’s creative community on how it will fit into the city’s rapidly growing landscape.
The Agent of Change Principle states that the burden of sound mitigation is placed on the party that arrives in a location second or later. If a hotel or home is slated to be built next to a live music venue and loud music poses a problem, that hotel or homeowner is deemed responsible for providing sound mitigation.
On the other hand, if a live music venue wants to set up shop in a neighborhood where neighbors may take issue with live music, the venue needs to provide the sound mitigation. In this case, The Nook was in operation first, thus the burden of sound mitigation is placed on the Westin, according to the principle.
The Nook will ostensibly be outfitted with a 96-panel JBN Sound Ceiling, which is a rectangular panel of speakers installed on the ceiling—typically over the dance floor—that sends the sound straight down, allowing for minimal bleed. The hardware will be flown over and installed over the next few weeks, according to the emails.
The technology was tested in March at an event at Brazos Hall. On the dance floor directly under the speakers, the sound was pumping at a measured 100 decibels. But 65 feet back the sound level was cut by 20 decibels, and 275 feet away the decibel level was cut in half.
An attempt to reach JR Rodriguez, The Nook’s general manager, was also unsuccessful.