After five months of surveying residents and businesses, taking and monitoring decibel readings and assessing international best practices, the Deep Ellum Noise Task Force has released a report.
It offers specific recommendations tailored to the unique case of Deep Ellum as it serves as a popular residential community, an important historic and cultural destination and the premier entertainment district in the entire region. The Task Force calls for an overlay district featuring several tiers of allowable noise within the Deep Ellum Cultural District distinct from general City of Dallas allowable levels. It also recommends expanding band loading zones, clarifying and streamlining the Department of Code Compliance Services’ practices and ramping up education upon noise within the district.
“I am proud to present the results of this group’s efforts. In this report, we share the findings of the Task Force’s research within Deep Ellum as well as lessons learned from comparative communities across the globe. The Task Force offers specific recommendations tailored to the unique case of Deep Ellum as it serves as a popular residential community, an important historic and cultural destination, and the premier entertainment district in the entire region,” District 2 Council Member Jesse Moreno said.
Deep Ellum is one of the most historically significant neighborhoods in North Texas and serves as both the inspiration and launching pad for artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and many independent businesses. A mere 0.5 square mile, the district is home to more than 400 businesses today. A cornerstone of the City’s tourism industry, this cultural magnet consistently attracts both Texans and tourists from around the world. The district hosted approximately 1.2 million unique visitors in 2019 and has continued to draw large crowds in 2020 and 2021. Thanks in large part to its rich arts, entertainment, and food and beverage offerings, Deep Ellum has also been leading the Central Business District in new office and residential development. The district experienced a 75% increase in residential units available between 2018 and 2020 alone.
“This Noise Task Force worked diligently to really understand the needs of all stakeholders who come to be a part of this community, and we are proud to present a set of recommendations that will allow Deep Ellum businesses and residents to continue to grow and thrive together.” said Stephanie Keller Hudiburg, Executive Director of The Deep Ellum Foundation.
The culture of live music is part of the reason many residents move to and stay in the neighborhood.
“I moved into this neighborhood to be apart of the culture and the music. The music from these venues is what keeps this neighborhood alive and thriving with business,” resident Kelly Saunders said.
“After a few decades playing and/or living down here, I’m happy to see a more comprehensive ordinance developed. Noise is a problem in any busy neighborhood, but it’s a complex matter in our live/play areas. The standard ordinance was simply too broad for all stakeholders to be treated fairly. The task force worked hard to find solutions that work for everyone in Deep Ellum,” resident and musician Trey Carmichael said.
“It’s been a very difficult couple of years with COVID-19. All the businesses in Deep Ellum have suffered greatly and are doing their best to recoup losses and return to some form of normalcy,” said Allen Falkner, who owns three businesses in Deep Ellum. “The one thing that has remained the same is that Deep Ellum has been known as an entertainment district for a century. For many, it’s the heart and soul of Dallas with music being the cornerstone to its success and survival. These recommendations on the noise ordinance support music, entertainment and small businesses. They will not only help Deep Ellum, but will keep Dallas the cultural icon of Texas that it deserves to be.”
“At the Deep Ellum Community Association, we believe music is the soul of Deep Ellum. The history and culture of Deep Ellum are inextricably woven with the sounds pouring from bars and music venues. Without this beautiful noise, we lose our purpose and place in this city. As our mission is to preserve and protect the history and culture of this unique neighborhood, we fervently believe it is our highest duty to honor the sounds of music and keep the magic alive — not just for the joy it brings right now, but to leave a legacy for generations to come,” said Breonny Lee, president of the Deep Ellum Community Association.
For the executive summary, the task force’s findings and the complete recommendations, read the Deep Ellum Noise Task Force Report here.