Case dismissed!

Campaign for “Community Performances” amendment begins

The videos and written testimony sent by you, our readers, along with support from other 13th Ave small businesses, helped Wax Trax get a noise citation dismissed at a hearing last week, when the city failed to produce any witness. 

The case was about a noise citation leveled at Wax Trax’s Sidewalk Shows in late October last year, which caused the mini-show series to temporarily relocate. However, the hearing officer in the case, Samuel Macon Cowles III (pictured above), concluded last Wednesday’s hearing with a warning about future shows: “The fact that other people in the community love it doesn’t matter here,” said Cowles. “People are prepared to demonstrate support, but there’s an empty chair from the person that claimed this was unwanted noise… I dismissed this case because the city didn’t prove that this [sound] is unwanted. The City didn’t bring a witness. Take this as another warning because if the city finds a witness they may be able to establish a violation that would not be dismissed.”

To sidestep the health commission’s ongoing threat to the beloved sidewalk shows, Wax Trax has created the “Capitol Hill Community Performances” amendment to Denver’s Noise Control Ordinance, and we need your help to push it through City Council. Luckily, they are already reviewing the ordinance and taking comments!

What you can do:

  • Sign our petition here
  • Speak up at the City’s Feb. 8, 6pm hearing via Zoom using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5814266986
  • Send a letter of support for the amendment: phicomments@denvergov.org
  • Read the Capitol Hill Community Performances amendment here.
  • Take the city’s lame survey here

The Amendment would add certain language to the ordinance that would allow anyone to hold a show on their private property in Capitol Hill as long as it has a very low impact on their neighbors. Namely, the shows would need to be free to the public (so the neighbors can come over), last no longer than 2 hours between 12 and 6pm on a weekend or holiday, sell no alcohol, and be no louder than 80 decibels (which similar to the sound of heavy traffic downtown). The sound level restriction is the same as a festival permit would provide, but the far shorter “community performance” would be allowed unpermitted on private property, thus allowing for much smaller low budget performances. The amendment is restricted to live music, created by musicians on the premises. 

“We need every Denver resident we can get to write a letter, or show up to the city’s Zoom hearing this Wednesday at 6pm,” said Wax Trax co-owner/manager Pete Stidman. “The only way we can keep the sidewalk shows alive is to get a strong showing of community support and convince our City Council and the Department of Public Health and Environment that the shows are a great thing for building social connections, bringing the music and arts of Capitol Hill out into the streets, and promoting a healthy neighborhood.” 

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