Conroe Council discusses a proposed amendment regarding amplification permits for outdoor music venues

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Conroe City Council listening to presentation at Dec. 11 workshop.

Conroe Council discussed a new portion of the city’s ordinances, that will address commercial venues that routinely have outdoor music events that have a need to amplify the music.

This was discussed at Council’s Dec. 11 workshop.

“Whether it be electrical guitars or just PA systems or outdoor music system, typically they have a venue that is there, a stage or an area where the band plays, they have seating,” said Conroe Community Development Director Nancy Mikeska. Those are some of the characteristics of a business that routinely has outdoor events, and it’s not for sidewalk performers or anything like that.”

Mikeska said the businesses will apply for a once a year permit, and will tell the city the dates of these activities and what they are.

“The application requires them to tell us what and how they’re amplifying it, so we’ll know how that’s going, if it’s through a PA system or are they using a portable system, those kind of things, we’ll know all that,” said Mikeska. We’ll inspect that venue once a year to make sure we’ve got wires the way they should be and all that.”

Mikeska said this will give these businesses an opportunity to have these events on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, every weekend and Sunday too.

“Our wineries and the brewery, they’re doing it anyway, they’re illegally doing it, and they don’t want to do that. They want to have these things legally and they want to be able to advertise them,” said Mikeska. The permits right now are 30 dollars an event and you can have three a month. The current ordinance, obviously if you’re having Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Sunday events, you’re obviously out the first week of the month.”

Mikeska says the proposed amendment will allow these businesses to have as many of those types of events as they want to have.

“At the winery, whether or not the Blue Epiphany has a sip and serve or whatever, where you just sip wine and listen and those kinds of things,” said Mikeska. The brewery may have a tasting and a band, and they do that all the time; Papa’s On the Lake has music all the time, it’s an outdoor venue, Wolfie’s is an outdoor venue, B-52’S has an outdoor venue.”

Mikeska said they have places in place that are already outdoor venues, and they’re hoping to attract some more by having a simpler process and working with them more closely to make sure it’s an easier process.

“We want to encourage them to have these events, but we want it safe and we don’t want it to disturb people that are trying to rest, so we have some rules against them being around schools, churches and nursing homes.”

Conroe Council will vote on this item at their regular meeting on Dec. 12 at six p.m. at Conroe City Hall.

The Community Development Department presented the annual Community Development Block Grant program performance evaluation report, that will be submitted to Housing and Urban Development, to City Council at their workshop.

Community Development Director Nancy Mikeska presented information about the last housing cycle, in which they identified five houses that were being demolished and reconstructed. They will then place their clients back into those homes after the homes are finished. These are located in the Dugan and Madeley Quarter areas of the city.

“We’ve been working with those clients now for almost a year, and we started in 2018, and that’s my HUD year 2018, which is really 2019 for the city, so it was this past year,” said Mikeska. We had a problem with the contractor, which we took legal action and ended that contract, and renewed a contract with another contractor to get the houses back on track.”

Mikeska said they did not like the quality of work that was going on.

“We have to meet international building codes and all of those things, but really it’s more than that. It should be a quality home that we’re proud of because we’re using federal tax dollars for those homes,” said Mikeska. Those are not city tax dollars, those are not general fund dollars, those are federal dollars. It’s really important that we put a product on the ground that not only they will be able to live in for the rest of their lives, but for generations to come, because the true purpose of this program is to improve our housing stock.”

Mikeksa said when this went arie they started to take legal action, but because it is a federal contract and the federal government is involved, it takes a lot longer to end the contract.

“We’ve been going through this process for about three months. We now have our new contractor on board, he has cleared the lots and has started, but he has not started reconstructing yet because we’re waiting on another contract from the bonds people.”

Mikeska said the city’s target area for the federal Community Development Block Grant Program is the Dugan area, which is 105 East, from 105 all the way over to Sliverdale. That’s called the Dugan area and that’s a lot larger than actually Dugan, but Mikeska said over the years they kept expanding it as they got the money to help people.

“We also work in the Madeley Quarter, which is on the north side of 105, so we have the south side of 105 east and we have the north side of 105 east.” Dugan and the Madeley Quarter are both historically our oldest community and they’re also historically low-income and African American” said Mikeska. “We’ve always worked in that target area, we continue to expand it, but we have 70 houses on the ground over there, not including the ones that are under construction.”

City Council will vote on this annual report at their Dec. 12 meeting.

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