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Deep Ellum's beat goes on – but perhaps not as loud – if new noise reduction plan moves forward

A Deep Ellum street at night.
Photographer Steven Briggs
/
Courtesy of The Nines
The City of Dallas may soon limit how loud Deep Ellum businesses can blast their music, after a slew of complaints filed last year.

Residents who live in one of Dallas' most popular entertainment districts may soon get some relief from the noise. A task force has recommended ways to keep noise levels down in Deep Ellum.

For decades, the neighborhood has been known for its music. It has served as a launching pad for artists and musicians. Today, it’s a place for dancing, partying and booming businesses. The neighborhood is home to more than 400 businesses and is “a cornerstone to the city’s tourism industry hosting approximately 1.2 million visitors in 2019,” according to the city.

So it’s not surprising that with all that growth comes tons of noise. As the neighborhood got louder, nearby residents filed noise complaints. And after hundreds were filed last summer, a task force was formed to come up with a solution.

“This is all about compromising, making sure that there is a successful, thriving entertainment district while still ensuring that we have a quality of life for the residents that call them home,” said Council Member Jesse Moreno, who represents Deep Ellum.

The task force noted the number of new apartments in Deep Ellum has increased by more than 75% between 2018 and 2020.

A new report by the task force suggests the city establish noise level limits. The task force recommended that Deep Ellum should have a noise limit of 92 decibels from Good Latimer Expressway to Walton Street between 6 p.m. and 12 a.m. on weeknights and between 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. on weekends.

A washing machine or dishwasher is about 70 dB and a motorcycle engine running is about 95 dB, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“This is all about compliance,” Moreno said. “Right now, unfortunately, there is so much gray area that they [businesses] don't know if they're in compliance or not.”

The task force wants businesses to stop pointing speakers toward sidewalks and streets. It hopes to make it easier for residents to file noise complaints with the Department of Code Compliance. And if the recommendations are approved, the task force wants to make sure that residents and businesses know about the new noise rules.

The task force also sought to address concerns from musicians and entertainers and recommended expanding band loading zones.

"This Noise Task Force worked diligently to really understand the needs of all stakeholders who come to be a part of this community, and we are proud to present a set of recommendations that will allow Deep Ellum businesses and residents to continue to grow and thrive together," Stephanie Keller Hudiburg, executive director of The Deep Ellum Foundation, said in a press release.

The task force members say they hope to work with the city to implement these changes. Moreno said their report will be discussed with the Public Safety and Quality of Life committees before heading to the full council for a vote.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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