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It's not the condo dwellers complaining about the music

Jeff Ward fell for it, big-time. So did 100% of his callers on Friday afternoon. You know what I'm talking about; the "OMG! All these people moving downtown are complaining about live music!" crap.

Folks, the people pushing for the extra restrictions on live music outdoors are NOT the people downtown. As reported elsewhere, they didn't even make up a significant part of the audience for the task force that came up with the new rules. Nor should one look at Lee Leffingwell, Laura Morrison, and Mike Martinez (the authors of the ordinance) and see some kind of rich downtown-dweller conspiracy - Morrison and increasingly Leffingwell are ANC tools first and foremost, and Martinez has been leaning that way occasionally as well (disappointing, given his usual sanity on the issue of development). If the downtown dwellers were really behind this effort, you'd be seeing this ordinance spearheaded by the like of McCracken and Wynn, wouldn't you think?

Here's one representative set of minutes from that task force. Notice complaints from Zilker, Castle Hill, and Travis Heights. Notice not one complaint from downtown.

As I've said in many a comment thread before, the primary force behind new and expanded limits on noise is the same group it's always been: old-school single-family homeowners in Zilker and Eastwoods/Hancock. Jeff Jack's crowd, in other words. These folks have been complaining about venues on Barton Springs and Congress and Red River ever since I've been here - for more than a decade; and there hasn't been any new group of downtown residents joining them; they're just using the supposed downtown residents as cover - most people living downtown view music as an amenity, not a problem.

Don't fall for it. Downtown condos aren't the enemy of live music; the ANC is.

This entry was posted in the following categories: Austin , Urban Design , When Neighborhoods Go Bad


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I agree with the main point of your argument, but I think you're ignoring the very real desire by DAA folks (not necessarily all the condo dwellers themselves) to "clean up" E 6th street by displacing the existing bars and clubs with family restaurants and other so-called amenities for the new arrivants. It parallels the typical suburban development trend where you name your subdivision after the environmental feature you destroyed. Or, as Jane Jacobs says, "When a place gets boring, even the rich people leave." How long will Sixth Street be able to survive the well-funded onslaught?

You make it sound like they want TGI Fridays down there and no live music; when that's quite clearly not the case - what they want is more daytime traffic to balance things out, and (possibly) less frat-boy action. The DAA folks _love_ the 4th street bars, for instance; and those generate more outdoor noise than does E 6th (many of those shot bars don't even _have_ music).

So you're saying they want to change 6th street into 4th, or even worse, 2nd street *shudder*. I don't think that's a win for the city, culturally speaking. I only see the pressure getting worse as they build more condos on Red River/Waller Creek and build a senior center as part of the Green redevelopment. The suck is coming, we should be ready for it.

No, I'm saying that on the continuum from (today) to (TGI Fridays), I can't see them even wanting to go past 4th street, if even that.

If E. 6th St. had a few more places like Parkside and a few less places like Vice, would that be a win for the city, culturally? Guess it depends who you talk to. Since I'm old enough to drink without a fake ID, I think it is.

And yeah, the city sure will suck if we build housing for older people as a small fraction of the water plant redevelopment!

I live at the Sabine, arguably the closest condominium to the entertainment district.

Folks, noise is not a problem. We moved here FOR the energy of downtown.

ANC is a group of bullies that incorrectly and unethically pander to Austinites that get their news from the Statesman.

"old-school single-family homeowners"

I take you are a new school multifamily home dweller right?

Or isn't just possible that your live in a single family that is just an earlier generation of the 'sprawl' that you are always bitching about?

You are often insightful M1ke, but you are also frequently very hypocritical.

The distinction is that the old-school single-family homeowner is intolerant of multi-family near them; and views multi-family as a stage in life while single-family is the final destination everybody aspires to and everybody ought to aspire to (and if you don't agree or satisfy the requirement, you're a failure or a weirdo).

We'd likely be living in our old neighborhood in a multi-family dwelling if any existed that were large enough - but the move-up from 2 to 3 bedrooms also meant changing market segments from "moderate" to "ultra-luxury".

Finally, there's a qualitative difference between this neighborhood and the new sprawl - which you would be aware of if you lived closer in than Cedar Park. I sat on my porch with my son yesterday for 10 minutes and saw five times as many people pass by on foot or on bike than in automobiles - many of them on their way to/from the bus stops on Speedway or Duval. Not a single one of these people was out just to walk around or ride their bike for fun or for exercise (although that's quite fine); they were actually getting somewhere by means of their feet or their bike.

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