Victoria Building Mugs

The outside of the Victoria City Hall building.

Victoria will be looking at different areas of the city and measuring sounds as the city council ponders changing local noise ordinances to encourage more development downtown.

“For now, we’ll gather more data, because a lot of things need to be cleaned up,” Victoria City Manager Jesús Garza said to the council Tuesday night. “That will give us a couple of months to finalize and fine tune this.”

Any formal changes would occur later in the summer, Victoria Economic Development Director Danielle Williams said. A proposed entertainment district in the downtown might not be the only area that could see changes to noise limits around town.

In a year’s time, the Victoria Police Department received 150 noise complaints around town with Burdogz Bar & Grill being the main cause of complaints. Williams said part of the focus on downtown was to make a district for marketing and branding, like those seen in other cities.

“That would encourage more nightlife in a centralized district,” Williams said to the council.

The city plans to study noise impacts in the proposed district. Williams said it would be a balancing act to develop an ordinance to allow indoor music, outdoor music and residents in the same district.

“If we are successful at this and have multiple establishments on the same block,” Garza said. “These are things to think about. It’s food for thought.”

The current city ordinance considers the volume of noise, intensity of the noise, whether the nature of the noise is usual or unusual, whether the origin of the noise is natural or artificial, the proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities, nature of the area within which the noise emanates and other factors.

Currently, on residential property, sounds as loud as 60 decibels are allowed after 7 a.m. and before 10 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, the limit is allowed after 7 a.m. and before 12 a.m. on the following morning. The city did 42 readings on May 11, with seven readings exceeding 60 decibels. No readings exceeded 90 decibels, which is the high end of the scale being considered by the council.

Sixty decibels is what normal conversation or a dishwasher is measured at. Eighty decibels is what an alarm clock sounds like. Lawnmowers and hairdryers measure at 90 decibels.

Williams said the idea is to formulate plans to attract additional development to the city without hindering other development. Williams said she thought a formal plan for updating the noise ordinance should be ready by mid-July.

In other action, the council approved the results of the May 7 elections. Mayor Jeff Bauknight, District 5 Council Member Andrew Young and District 6 Council Member Mark Loffgren were all sworn in to office Tuesday night. Voters also approved all 14 charter amendments in the election, bringing them into effect immediately.

The council also discussed adopting a law similar to Houston’s that targets theft of catalytic converters. Loffgren, who introduced the issue, said that because the converters contain metals such as rhodium, palladium and platinum, the thefts can be profitable.

Catalytic converter theft increased 325% nationally in 2020, and Texas is ranked as second among states for the most thefts.

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George covers city and county government here in Victoria and the Crossroads.

(3) comments

Lisa Griffin

205 Greek Brothers is so loud I can hear their music in every room of my house. Lawnmowers, alarm clocks, and blow dryers don't sound continuously for hours upon hours. I invite anyone on this committee to come to my home on a Wednesday night and try and enjoy a movie or put a grandkid to sleep.

Glenn Wilson

"Victoria could allow downtown bars' music to be louder" -- No doubt all the folks living in the area would appreciate that. BTW, does Victoria have a law about motor vehicle exhaust noise? If so, any chance someone at VPD might enforce it? Some days it seems like the city is the loud pipe capital of Texas.


Keep the business, trash the neighborhood.

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