Outdoor Amplified Sound

The City of Austin requires commercial establishments that use sound equipment outdoors (in any space that is not fully enclosed by four solid walls and a roof) to obtain an Outdoor Music Venue Permit (OMV). These permits are reviewed by the Development Services Department's Entertainment Services Group. Title 9, Chapter 9-2 of the Austin Code of Ordinances, regulates noise and amplified sound including the Outdoor Music Venue Permit.

 

What you will find on this page:

 

iconBefore You Apply 

Consult with the Entertainment Services Group as early as possible, ideally as soon as you have a potential concept or location in mind. We can help you understand the location, proximity to residential uses, impacts to the review and permit allowances, and help you minimize sound impact to residential uses.

iconOutdoor Music Venue Permit Application Process

 

step 1  Complete an Outdoor Music Venue Application

Complete an Outdoor Music Venue Permit Application (PDF). Email application to soundpermits@austintexas.gov. Be sure to attach the following, along with your application form:

  • Dimensional site plan and stage layout
     
  • Copy of a Certificate of Occupancy and the Occupant Load Card
     
  • Certificate of formation for the corporation, LLC or partnership that owns the business operating the establishment 
     

step 2  Application is entered into system

Application is checked for completeness and entered into the system. Intake staff document the business owner, zoning of the property. and the distance to residential property.
 

step 3  Notify property owners and neighborhood organization within 600 feet

Notice to property owners and neighborhood organizations within 600 feet is required within 14 days of submitting the application. The notice can be mailed by the City for a fee, or the applicant may choose to self-notify with City staff oversight without a fee. Download the Applicant Prepared Notice Agreement (PDF).
 

step 4  Pay required fees

Required fees, including the review fee and the notification fee, if applicable, must be paid at the time of application. Your application status will remain pending until the required fees are received.  NOTE: An additional permit fee, if not paid in advance, will be due upon final approval of the permit.
 

step 5  Review is conducted

Sound permit review is conducted to evaluate the potential impacts to the surrounding community. Reviewers will recommend approval or denial of the application and determine appropriate conditions and restrictions, including heightened restrictions related to decibel limits and/or hours of operation, if needed to protect public health and safety.
 

step 6  Plan is created

A sound impact plan is created by the Entertainment Services Group documenting the allowances, restrictions, and requirements associated with the approved permit. The permit and sound impact plan will be issued and must be on-site at the establishment and available for inspection. The Outdoor Music Venue permit is valid for one year and then must be renewed. 

iconOMV Permit Outdoor Sound Allowances & Restrictions

The outdoor sound allowances, including hours and sound levels, are customized for each permit based on the review criteria.

Operating Hours for Outdoor Amplified Sound

The specific hours for each establishment are customized in the permit. The latest times for outdoor amplified sound allowed by city code vary based on location:

Citywide* Red River District 6th Street & Warehouse Districts
(establishments with capacity of 600 or less)
Monday-Wednesday: 10:00 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday: 10:00 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.
Thursday: 10:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. Thursday: 10:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m. Thursday: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.
Friday/Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m. Friday/Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m. Friday/Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.

*Permits within 600 feet of property zoned and used as residential have maximum hours of Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday/Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and can be extended up to 2 hours per day with support from nearby owners, tenants, and neighborhood organizations.

Permits may not be issued for the use of sound equipment within 100 feet of property zoned and used as residential.

Sound Level Limits for Outdoor Amplified Sound

The specific sound levels for each establishment are customized in the permit and typically include both dBA and dBC maximums. The loudest sound level allowed by city code is 85 dBA with a 70 dBA maximum for restaurant uses.

iconSearch for Permitted Venues

Use the map below to find active and pending Outdoor Music Venue permits including the operating hours and sound levels. Search for a specific address or click on the map to explore broader area. 

Are you developing a residential project near a permitted entertainment establishment? 

Use the map to locate permitted establishments near your site. Consult with the Entertainment Services Group as early as possible. We can help you understand any permitted establishments in the area and their existing legal sound allowances and provide suggestions for studying and mitigating sound impacts inside your residential unit(s).

Map of Permitted OMV Establishments
 

iconCompliance and Enforcement

Enforcement staff responds to loud noise complaints and conducts routine inspections of amplified outdoor sound on commercial properties. Additional information is on our Noise and Amplified Sound Enforcement page.

If you believe an establishment is operating without a required permit or operating out of compliance with their permit, please use the Austin 3-1-1 app or call 3-1-1 to submit a service request for “Loud Commercial Music."

Chapter 9-2 of the Austin City Code regulates noise and amplified sound including the Outdoor Music Venue permit criteria, requirements and enforcement. The Development Services Department’s Environmental Construction Inspection Division – Sound Enforcement Program has the primary responsibility for enforcement of OMV permits. Enforcement staff respond to complaints to determine if a violation has occurred, provide education, seek voluntary compliance, and take enforcement action as needed if compliance is not achieved. Enforcement staff may issue citations to the business owner or manager on-site and/or file an affidavit on the business owner of record in municipal court. For repeat and chronic violations of OMV permits administrative actions may be taken including Suspension and Revocation of OMV Permits.

iconSpecial Events and Residential Property

Outdoor Amplified Sound at Special Events

  • Outdoor amplified sound at special events is approved through the special event permit. Application and more information are available on the Austin Center for Events (ACE) page.

Amplified Sound in Residential Areas

  • Property zoned as residential (under Section 25-2-32B) does not require, and is not eligible for an outdoor sound permit. 
     
  • Austin City Code allows amplified sound on residential property from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at a maximum of 75 decibels. Amplified sound may not be audible beyond the property line from 10 p.m.-10 a.m.
iconAppointments

Ask questions related to noise and amplified sound permits.

Expected Appointment Duration: 20 minutes 

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