HOUSTON- Dealing with a noisy neighbor is never fun, especially when it's a massive music venue.
The ongoing battle between White Oak Music Hall, and local neighbors is now becoming a legal issue.
"Despite the best efforts of HPD to enforce the Houston sound ordinance, the city of Houston as an entity has not taken leadership in interpreting and directing accurate enforcement of the Houston sound ordinance,” said attorney Cris Feldman.
The residents said the city has not given the Houston Police Department the resources needed for enforcement such as one sound meter for a single sergeant to use.
Additional concerns have been raised about the sound measurements not being taken from the White Oak property line, as the ordinance requires.
“So we have added the city of Houston to the law suit against White Oak Music Halland the public nuisance that they have created in disturbing hard working families and their children,” added Feldman.
“A possible solution was asked of me, ‘"would I consider moving?"’ And my answer is absolutely, not!! My family has been there on that block since 1916. I am the 4th generation living there raising my 5th generation children and No! I’m not going anywhere! And I shouldn’t have to,” said resident Linda Longoria-Vargas.
A temporary injunction is still in place until the October trial, which limits the number of outdoor shows, and requires outdoor shows to end by 10 p.m. on the weekdays, and 11 p.m. on weekends.
“When the first outdoor concert happened, my son he is autistic and he’s gonna be ten years old, he ran and hid under his bed, I voiced my concerns to White Oak about my son they said they’d come take sound readings never happened,” said resident Theresa Cavin.
“These families have been left with no choice but to sue the city of Houston,” said Feldman, “this outdoor venue needs to be shut down.”
NewsFix reached out to White Oak Music Hall and received the following statement;
"The plaintiffs have revised their lawsuit against White Oak Music Hall to include the City of Houston. This latest legal maneuver is disappointing, as White Oak Music Hall believes that both the City of Houston and the Houston Police Department have faithfully fulfilled their obligations to respect both the rights of nearby residents and White Oak Music Hall in a fair and impartial manner. The City of Houston and the Houston Police Department remain important gatekeepers against the plaintiffs’ strategy of making frivolous emergency calls for service to prop up their case, which directs police resources away from real emergencies. The current case is not a class action, and remains a small number of individuals in a neighborhood of hundreds of households, many of whom strongly support White Oak Music Hall. Contrary to reports stating otherwise, White Oak Music Hall has had two trials regarding noise tickets, one of which resulted in a not guilty verdict rendered by a Houston jury, and the second a mistrial due to impermissible testimony from a prosecution witness. White Oak Music Hall is entitled to an impartial jury trial by its peers, and will continue to defend itself against all of the plaintiffs’ allegations. White Oak Music Hall will continue to work with the City of Houston to create a venue which adds cultural, aesthetic, and infrastructure benefits to the area, and in the meantime, all of our shows, both indoor and out, will continue as normal."
So, it looks like we’ll have to wait until the October trial, to see if the law will put a lid on this case!