San Antonio sound ordinance changes could impact music venues, bars, restaurants with outdoor amplified sound

Task force working on draft ordinance, which may head to council next year

David Uhler, president of the Beethoven Männerchor, has concerns about some of the language in the final draft of the Sound Music Cities report to the City of San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO – A new sound ordinance proposal could help some San Antonio residents sleep better, but it could have a bigger impact on businesses that play outdoor music.

David Uhler, president of the Beethoven Männerchor, has concerns about some of the language in the final draft of the Sound Music Cities report to the City of San Antonio. A sound expert was hired to look at the city’s noise complaints and recommend how to tackle the problems.

Uhler said the first problem is the decibel meter for his business would be too low.

“Right now, as I’m talking, it is reading at about 74-73 decibels,” he said, using a professional decibel reader. “Have you been here before? We had a rock band here. We’ve got a concert band. We’ve got a big band, a swing band that plays here. And, you know, you can get a little loud.”

Uhler is one of a few business owners that’s shown up to the Noise Task Force meetings. His venue in King Williams has been around for 100 years, and he says the community was built around it.

“We’re located in the heart of a residential area. They talk about businesses that are within 100 feet or have a certain number of restrictions. We haven’t had that,” Uhler said. “We’ve been a good neighbor all along. We follow the ordinance recommendations of some decibels up to certain hours, and if they start to go ahead and restrict that, we get a little bit nervous.”

The draft is a recommendation the task force can consider taking to the next phase. On Tuesday, the task force held off on a vote until they could hear from more businesses that would be impacted by possible changes.

An ordinance might include:

  • A permit at a cost to businesses
  • A neighborhood agreement
  • Restricted hours of operation and decibel levels based on the establishment’s proximity to a home

Mike Shannon, with the city of San Antonio, said staff attorneys would have to look at the language and consider costs and if a grandfather clause would apply.

The next meeting has not yet been announced, but Shannon says it should be before the end of the month. Many phases need to occur before an actual ordinance heads to the council for a vote, but it might be by the beginning of next year.

ALSO ON KSAT.COM

Loud and clear: consultant delivers final report to San Antonio’s noise ordinance task force


About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.