West University approves noise ordinance amendments to extend quiet hours, restrict leaf blowers

The West University Place City Council has approved noise ordinance amendments that restrict equipment noise levels and extend quiet hours for residents. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
The West University Place City Council has approved noise ordinance amendments that restrict equipment noise levels and extend quiet hours for residents. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

The West University Place City Council has approved noise ordinance amendments that restrict equipment noise levels and extend quiet hours for residents. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

West University Place’s noise ordinance had come before the city’s zoning and planning commission 16 times since 2018 with requests for changes from residents, but now with council action, those requests became a reality.

The West University Place City Council voted unanimously July 27 to approve the second and final reading on amendments to a noise ordinance that expand residential quiet hours within city limits; implement tighter restrictions on noise-generating equipment, including leaf blowers, outside of those quiet hours; and nine months for any residents or contractors to transition to quieter equipment.

During the council’s July 27 meeting, residents called in to support and argue against the amendments, especially on a 70-decibel maximum restriction on any leaf blower, specifically, operated outside residential quiet hours. Other lawn equipment is subject to the original ordinance limit of 85 decibels.

The new quiet hours are before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Saturday, and before noon and after 5 p.m. Sundays, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, Independence Day, and any city holiday on which there is no curbside trash collection.

To enforce such an ordinance on leaf blowers, West University Place will look at the manufacturer’s equipment rating, and should it not meet the 70-decibel standard, it would be a violation.

The ordinance stipulates that noise level limits on residential properties remain below 58 decibels during residential quiet hours, 65 decibels during other times and 68 decibels for nonresidential properties.

The first reading of the ordinance approved by the council July 13 allowed contractors and residents a six-month period to transition to quieter leaf blowers, though members of the governing body discussed whether that was enough time.

“Do you think it’s fair to those folks, to those small practitioners, that the city gives them a six-month window?” Mayor Bob Higley asked City Manager Dave Beach, who responded that he was unable to make such a judgment.

The council eventually settled on a nine-month window and amended the proposed amendments accordingly, which means contractors and residents now have until April 2021 to purchase leaf blowers that meet the new noise standards.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


COVID-19 vaccines
DATA: Texas has vaccinated about 9% of estimated Phase 1 recipients

Over 1.1 million individuals from the Phase 1 population, which is estimated to include 13.5 million individuals total, have received at least one dose.

Bob Popinski, policy director of Raise Your Hand Texas, shared the organization's top education priorities for the ongoing legislative session. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
‘What does virtual learning and remote learning look like moving forward?': Raise Your Hand Texas policy director talks legislative priorities

Bob Popinski is the director of policy for Raise Your Hand Texas, an Austin-based organization committed to improving public education. He spoke with Community Impact Newspaper in late December about the 87th legislative session, which began Jan. 12.

Houston City Hall aerial view
Houston City Council ethics committee to review speech policies

The discussion comes after Facebook posts by Council Member Greg Travis led to calls for his resignation or censure.

Bayou City Art Festival Downtown is scheduled to return in person in October. (Courtesy Katya Horner/Bayou City Art Festival)
Bayou City Art Festival scheduled for in-person return in October

The Memorial Park version of the festival will be celebrated through alternative virtual and smaller in-person events.

Condit Elementary School
Houston ISD closes Condit Elementary in Bellaire over COVID-19 concerns

According to the HISD COVID-19 dashboard, there are nine active cases at Condit Elementary, including six student cases.

Mayor Sylvester Turner issued a warning to bars and nightclubs across Houston and said he plans to go after any establishment seen disregarding capacity guidelines. (Screenshot via Twitter)
Mayor Sylvester Turner calls out concerts, clubs operating over capacity

Turner also reported 1,964 new cases of COVID-19 along with 17 virus-related deaths.

The North Bellaire Special Development District located at the former Chevron campus at 4800 Fournace Place is in the review process by Bellaire’s Planning and Zoning Commission. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bellaire P&Z mulls changes to create north Bellaire zoning district

Almost a year in the works, Bellaire has a new zoning ordinance up for consideration.

At a Jan. 15 emergency court hearing, officials came up with a plan to try to reduce the inmate population at the Harris County Jail that centers on hosting more bail reduction hearings. (Courtesy Brian Jackson/Adobe Stock)
With open beds dwindling, officials look for ways to reduce Harris County jail population

The inmate population at the Harris County Jail is rising, and officials are looking for ways to quickly ease the pressure as concerns grow over the ability to quarantine and restrict the spread of the coronavirus.

Bocca Italian Kitchen serves seasonal, Italian-inspired dishes, such as polenta and various pastas. (Courtesy Marco Torres)
Italian eateries open in Generation Park; Houston bike lane fines enforced and more local news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Minute Maid Park
Houston Health Department vaccine appointments fill up in 16 minutes

The department will administer 5,000 doses at Minute Maid Park on Jan. 16 and 17.

Officials expect demand for the vaccine will be huge once it opens to the general public. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Montgomery County plans vaccine distribution; FDA warns of false negatives and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular stories from the past week from the Houston area.