KWA submitted an amendment proposal on the City’s Unified Development Code (UDC) regarding external sound systems for commercially zoned properties. Every five years the public can submit UDC amendment proposals and comments as part of a public process. City staff reviews the requests and makes recommendation to various City Commissions, which make recommendation to the City Council. City Council then votes on which changes to incorporate into the UDC. The process takes over a year to complete, so any changes adopted at the end of the current 2015 update program would not become code until 2016. Furthermore, the new codes only affect those projects started in or after adoption of the changes. Established properties or projects started in 2015 retain their previous “rights” and are considered “grandfathered.”

Currently the UDC zoning districts “C-1” and “NC” restrict external sound systems and live music. Most of the properties along S. Alamo, S. Presa and S. St. Mary’s Streets are zoned “C-2” and “C-3” which allow external sound systems and live music. Whenever KWA receives notification of a commercial zoning case, it is our practice to ask for “C-1” to help reduce the potential for outdoor noise and allow for a better quality of life for residents. In 2014, staff informed the Board that the City would be reviewing the UDC in 2015. The Board authorized staff to work with the City and an attorney to propose wording to address options for Commercial zoning and outdoor sound systems. KWA submitted a proposed UDC amendment in January 2015.

- Cherise Bell