Houston bars, restaurants could be fined thousands for playing loud music near homes

Houston City Council approved changes to the city's noise and sound level regulations Wednesday. 

According to a press release, these changes include increasing the maximum fine for violation from $1,000 to $2,000 and requiring a new permit for nightclubs, bars, and restaurants within 300 feet of a home after 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 

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Additionally, commercial establishments will not be allowed to play any outdoor amplified sound between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. The ordinance revision will take effect in 120 days. 

"There are some bars which repeatedly violate and flaunt the rules we have on the books, and the city has little recourse," said Houston's Regulatory and Neighborhood Affairs Committee (RNA), Council Member Alcorn. "This is destroying quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods. These changes aim to strengthen current rules and bring more businesses into compliance." 

The new changes are bent on targeting what the city described as "repeat violators" and include "codifying and refining the administrative hearing process for the suspension or revocation of a permit." There will be a hearing process initiated by the city's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department (ARA) as the director finds grounds for the suspension or revocation of a permit. 


While written complaints from surrounding property owners may be taken into consideration for the hearing officer's final decisions, the city says it will not be the sole basis for suspension or revoking a business permit. 

"At its foundation, our city has the responsibility to provide the basic city services that we all come to rely upon, but I also believe our city has a duty to its residents that businesses operating in our communities be respectful of their neighbors and abide by applicable laws and regulations," says Rice Military Civic Club President Mark Fairchild. "This includes affording residents the right to appreciate the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their homes without the unwanted intrusion of the noise generated by these bars and clubs that operate so close to our communities. These proposed changes give us hope."