Deep Ellum Bars Battle Noise Complaints

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For decades, Deep Ellum has been a cornerstone of culture, a place where arts, entertainment and music collide.

"From the graffiti on the walls and the murals to the bars to the live music to the DJs, that's what makes Deep Ellum,” said DJ Michael Roos.

But as nightlife has returned to the district, several recent code compliance visits for music heard from the street has business owners like Allen Falkner worried the neighborhood’s identity could disappear.

“Music is sort of the lifeblood down here, and so the idea of walking around Deep Ellum and hearing silence doesn't make any sense at all,” said Falkner.

Falkner said the uptick in noise complaints is relatively new.

Though according to the city of Dallas, the code limiting amplified music hasn’t changed.

That includes prohibiting any loud and disturbing noise or vibration that is “offensive to the ordinary sensibilities of the inhabitants of the city” and a loudspeaker that interferes with the “enjoyment of life or property.”

"The nightlife is pretty vibrant in certain business districts in our city, and that's fantastic, but we get complaints from neighbors sometimes when it exceeds a level where they can't get peace and tranquility,” said Director of Code Compliance Carl Simpson.

Simpson said his department’s enforcement has increased since this spring when they stepped in to assist Dallas Police following an uptick in calls related to noise complaints.

He believes that’s due in part to the area’s growth as a live, work, play district.

But a petition, now more than 5,000 signatures strong, argues Deep Ellum should be given more leniency as an entertainment district.

“If they want to enforce rules and regulations, great. But make them so that we can understand and make them reasonable. Deep Ellum is different from the rest of the city and I just can't stress that enough,” said Falkner.

Falker is part of a recently organized task force, led by Councilman Jesse Moreno, that will meet starting next week to try to find a solution.

Simpson's been invited to participate as well.

As of now, he said there are no exceptions in the code for any Dallas neighborhoods.

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