Music venues

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Austin is the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World”, but rising rents for both housing and commercial space, inadequacies in the current code, and an arcane permitting process combine to place that claim, as well as our larger art at risk. Every neighborhood deserves access to music and the arts. Additionally, a crucial factor for city vibrancy is the presence of “third places,” locations that are not homes (first places) or places of employment (second places). Music venues are some of Austin’s most well-known, and best-used, third places.

In order to preserve live music in Austin, the zoning code should enable latitude in structures which can accommodate music from homes on major & minor arterials to commercial buildings with adequate sound modification. The zoning code should accommodate a goal of a music venue within a 5 to 10 minute walk for every Austinite. Further fostering the creation of organic music venues maintaining Austin’s reputation for live music for future generations.

The Problem

Current transect language does not distinguish where a particular music venue may be best situated (for example, a 100-person listening room vs. a 2,500-person outdoor theatre).

Building types do not refer to music venues.

Parking minimums encourage auto-centric policy, when Austin should be moving in the other direction.

The Density Bonus Program does not effectively incentivize the creation of third places. (To read later and add stuff if needed:


Comment PDF page #

Allow music and arts spaces by right in more areas of the City. This includes adequate commercial space allowances in corridors, centers, and in between these areas and neighborhoods.
pdf pg 130
Revise the density bonus program in targeted areas by adding the preservation of an existing music venue or creation of a new music venue (or other arts space) as a Community Benefit.
Section 23-3e pdf pg 105
Revise the density bonus program for arts enterprises in targeted areas by adding additional incentives.
Section 23-3e pdf pg 105
Eliminate or significantly alter parking minimum requirements for bars and music venues.
pdf pg