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City Proposes Amendments to Noise, Sound Amplification Permit Ordinances

The City of El Paso is proposing amendments to the Noise Ordinance and the Sound Amplification Permit Ordinance, detailed in municipal codes Title 9 (Health and Safety) and Title 5 (Business License and Permit Regulations).

The public is invited to a virtual community meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, via Microsoft Teams (https://tinyurl.com/z9yz35w3), to learn more about the proposed amendments.

The community may also attend a public hearing at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 1, 2022, at the El Paso City Council meeting, 300 N. Campbell.

In 2018 and 2019, the City of El Paso underwent a robust discussion with the community regarding Noise Ordinance revisions. In 2019, City Council recognized the need to gather additional data to further refine the community-driven revisions implemented; however, the efforts were halted due to the pandemic. In spring 2021, as the city began to once again reopen the Police Department, Code Enforcement, and the City Attorney’s Office started to gather observational data, sound readings, engaging businesses, and the community to measure the effectiveness of the Noise Ordinance and the Sound Amplification Permit Ordinance.

The proposed revisions for Title 9 include:

  • Reasonable Sensibilities Standard: Clarifying violations can occur at any time of the day if the noise unreasonably disturbs or interferes with the sleep, peace, comfort, or repose of a person of reasonable sensibilities
  • Location of Reading: Revising location from the property line of the property receiving the noise to the property line of the property producing the noise
  • Decibel Level: Lowering from 70 dB to 65 dB
  • Vibration Violations: Revising requirements from adjoining properties to the affected property.
  • Penalties: The city may, by Chapter 54 of the Texas Local Government Code, bring civil action against a person violating a provision of this chapter. The civil action may include civil penalties of up to $1,000/day

The proposed revisions for Title 5 include:

  • Revising the definition of “Outdoor Area” to clarify that roll-up style doors, open doors, and windows constitute an outdoor area
  • Lowering decibel level from 70 dB to 65 dB
  • Expanding location requirement from 350 feet to 500 feet from residences
  • Requiring written notice to neighbors expanded from 300 feet to 500 feet; written responses expanded from 150 feet to 300 feet
  • Lowering revocation threshold from ten citations to two citations
  • Clarifying that the City may seek injunctive relief for violations under the Texas Local Government Code

The ordinance does not apply to businesses within the designated boundaries of the DMD; however, if the DMD expands its boundaries then businesses within any future expanded areas will need a permit if they meet the criteria.

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