Sunday, March 2, 2014

Don't kill the music in Music City

On the Council agenda Tuesday night is a bill that would severely restrict outdoor music events in Music City.

SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2014-651 would regulate small outdoor music events in commercial areas. Currently other than a noise ordinance, outdoor music events are not regulated.

This bill sets all kinds of restrictions including setbacks, lighting, prenotification, only one per month per location, off street parking, and it requires events end by 9PM on week nights. Why? I think we should encourage more music; not less.  When tourist come to town, I would think it would be great if they could have the unexpected experience of an outdoor concert and that if on almost any night of the week, somewhere there was a concert taking place. The many bands that make Nashville home, need more opportunities to be heard, not fewer. Hypocritically but thankfully, this ordinance would not apply to events in public parks.

I don't do it much anymore, but I used to attend a lot of music events. I loved summer out door music events. For several seasons there was a free outdoor summer music event in midtown near what was then Great Escape. I attended almost all of them and heard some great music and had a lot of fun. One of the artist I saw there was Lucinda Williams, who I love.   It this regulation would have been in place, that event would have not been permitted. For one thing, there was no off street parking. You parked blocks away on-street and walked to the event.

I used to hang out with some people in the music business. It is hard enough to recruit the talent and advertise and do all the things one must do to make an event happen.  We should not add a big bureaucratic road block as an additional hurdle to live outdoor music. Unfortunately, I suspect the people who love music and like to go to music events are not very engaged in local politics, so this will probably pass. I hope some in the music industry turn out and speak against this. The Chamber should be against it. I think Nashville has more potential to be "music city" than it already is, if we don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

If you want to keep the music alive in music city, it you have friends who like out door music events or are in bands and seek more opportunities to perform rather than fewer, encourage them to contact their councilman and urge them to vote against this bill. Urge them to attend the pubic hearing and speak against it.  This link will take you to the contact page for members of the Metro council: Metro Council.

Below is the text of the Bill:

SUBSTITUTE ORDINANCE NO. BL2014-651
An Ordinance amending Chapters 17.04, 17.08 and 17.16 of Title 17 of the Metropolitan Code, Zoning Regulations, pertaining to the regulation of small outdoor music events, all of which is more specifically described herein (Proposal No. 2014Z-004TX-001).
BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:
Section 1. That Title 17 of the Code of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Zoning Regulations, is hereby amended by amending Section 17.04.060, Definition of General Terms, by adding the following definition:
“Small outdoor music event” means the provision of acoustic music and entertainment events using small portable sound systems outside of permanent structures on commercially-zoned property located within one thousand feet of any property zoned to permit residential uses.

Section 2. That the codification of Title 17 of the Code of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Zoning Regulations, is hereby amended by amending Section 17.08.030, Land Use Tables, by adding the use “Small Outdoor Music Event” under Recreation and Entertainment Uses as a Use Permitted with Conditions (PC) use in the CS, CA, and CF zoning districts.
 Section 3. That the codification of Title 17 of the Code of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Zoning Regulations, is hereby amended by amending Section 17.16.120, Recreation and Entertainment Uses, by adding the following new subsection D.:
D. Small Outdoor Music Event.
1. Setback. The stage and sound amplification equipment shall not be oriented toward any residence located within three hundred feet of the property line upon which the small outdoor music event is to be held. Further, to the extent possible, sound amplification equipment shall be oriented so that sound is directed away from the closest residential property. For purposes of this subsection, "sound amplification equipment" means small portable sound systems, microphones, and amplified acoustic musical instruments.
2. Noise. A maximum noise level of seventy-five decibels on the A-weighted scale shall be permitted to occur at the boundary line of the nearest residential property.
3. Limitations on number of events and hours of operation. No more than one small outdoor music event shall be held on the property in a calendar month, with a maximum of eight events per calendar year. All small outdoor music event activity shall take place only between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on weekdays, and between 11:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on weekends and shall last a maximum of 4 hours. The applicant shall provide the zoning administrator with a list of the date(s) and time(s) of the scheduled small outdoor music event(s) prior to obtaining a permit. The permit holder shall annually update the information on file with the zoning administrator regarding the event date(s) and time(s), and the zoning administrator shall be notified of any change in the date(s) and time(s) of events at least thirty days prior to the event.
4. Attendance. Small outdoor music events shall have no more than 150 people in attendance.
5. Parking. Adequate off-street parking shall be provided as designated by the chief traffic engineer pursuant to Section 17.20.030 of the metropolitan code.
6. Street standard. At a minimum, primary street access for the event shall be from a nonresidential collector street.
7. Traffic and parking management plan. A traffic and parking management plan shall be submitted at the time the application for the use permit is filed. At a minimum, such traffic and parking management plan shall include the number of vehicles expected, a list of the streets to be used for ingress and egress, and a list of surface parking areas to be used to accommodate the event.
8. Lighting. All light and glare shall be directed on-site to ensure surrounding properties are not adversely impacted by increases in direct or indirect ambient lighting levels.
9. Event Notification. The applicant shall provide written notice of every small outdoor music event to all properties located within 600 feet of the subject property at least ten business days prior to the date of each event. Such notice can be via first class U.S. mail or hand delivery. An event notification plan shall be submitted by the applicant prior to obtaining a permit identifying the method by which notice regarding the small outdoor music event(s) is to be provided. Such notice shall include the following:
a. the date, location, and hours of the event;
b. the expected traffic generation;
c. the name, email address, and telephone number of the person(s) responsible for the event;
d. the telephone number of the zoning administrator’s office for purposes of making complaints regarding the event; and
e. a statement that noise complaints during the event shall be made to the metropolitan police department.
10. Revocation of permit. The zoning administrator shall have the authority to revoke a small outdoor music event permit upon the violation of any of the terms and conditions of the use permit or of the provisions of this section. Upon revocation, applicants shall not be permitted to apply for another small outdoor music event permit for a period of one year. Revocations may be appealed to the board of zoning appeals pursuant to section 17.40.180 of the metropolitan code.
11. The conditions set forth herein shall not apply to any event on public property meeting the definition of small outdoor music event, nor shall they apply to such events on property that is not zoned CS, CF, and CA.
Section 4. Be it further enacted, that the provisions of this Ordinance shall not operate to restrict any music event located on property that is not zoned CS, CF, or CA that is in compliance with the noise restrictions contained in Sections 11.12.070 and 17.28.090 of the Metropolitan Code.
Section 5. Be it further enacted that this Ordinance take effect immediately after its passage and such change be published in a newspaper of general circulation, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.
Sponsored by: Burkley Allen, Bo Mitchell

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