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City Government


Code of Ordinances

Ordinances for the City of Brenham are available online via ecode360.com. Please contact the City Secretary's Office with any questions at 979-337-7567 or jbellinger@cityofbrenham.org

View Code of Ordinances


Noise Nuisance Ordnance FAQ

See Also: Noise Nuisance Ordinance

The new Noise Nuisance Ordinance (Chapter 17 in the City’s Code of Ordinances) went into effect on August 3, 2023.  There have been many questions regarding this new ordinance, and we would like to clarify what this new law means to you as a City of Brenham resident or business owner.

How does the Noise Nuisance Ordinance work?

The new Ordinance sets limits on the noise that you can make in the City limits.  The maximum level depends upon the zone you are in, and the time of day.  The noise will be measured in decibels (dB) with a decibel meter if there are complaints.

The Ordinance also lists exceptions (activities that are allowed regardless of the decibel level) and certain noises that are always prohibited, no matter the decibel level.

What are the decibel limits?

  • Residential Neighborhoods (R1-R3): These are areas with only single-family homes or trailer parks.  The maximum in these areas is 55 dB between 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.  After 10:00 pm, the limit is 50 dB.
  • Mixed Use (B1, B2, Downtown): These are areas with mixed residential and business.  For example, this would include most of S. Day Street, S. Market, S. Austin, and Tom Green (between Woodson and Blue Bell), and most of the Blinn college campus area.  The limit in these areas is 62 dB, day and night.
  • Industrial Use: These areas are zoned for industrial purposes.  For example, Grocery Supply Company, Brazos Valley Brewing Company, Stanpac, Valmont, Bluebell Creameries, and the Waste Collection Station.  The limit is 85 dB, day and night.

How is decibel level measured?

Measurements will be taken at the edge of the complainant’s property.  The limit is based on the zone where the noise is coming from, regardless of the zone the complaint is coming from.  For example, if a noise is coming from a property in an Industrial Zone, the limit will be 85 dB, even if the complainant is in a residential zone.

What are some prohibited types of noises?

Some types of noise are, by definition, nuisances and are violations of the Ordinance, even if they are below the decibel limit.  Examples of nuisance noises are:

  • Car stereos that are plainly audible from 50 feet away, including bass vibrations
  • Yelling and screaming outside at night
  • Noisy animals
  • Noisy vehicles
  • Radios or other amplified sound on public property (park, street, sidewalk) that is plainly audible from 50 feet

What are some exceptions?

Some noises are allowed, even if they exceed the decibel limit.  Examples are:

  • Events with a City noise permit
  • Street or utility work between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm.
  • Construction or lawn maintenance between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm.
  • BISD sponsored events
  • Events held at the Hohlt Park Amphitheater

Why do I hear so much music in downtown?

The City of Brenham is proud to have earned the designation as a “Music Friendly Texas Community” from the Office of the Texas Governor.  Live music is an important part of the City’s culture and tourism.  Live music is treated differently from other types of noise in the new noise ordinance. 

Music venues located downtown or in an industrial zone may have live indoor or outdoor music any day between 10:00 am to midnight, as long as it doesn’t exceed 85 dB. When music is being played after midnight, it must conform to the regular limits, which is 62 dB for downtown and 85 dB for industrial zoned areas.

This exception only applies to music venues, and only to live music.  This doesn’t apply to DJs or recorded music, special events, or other businesses such as bars and restaurants.

How do I make a noise complaint?

Call the non-emergency number for Washington County Emergency Communications which is 979-277-7373.  They will dispatch an officer to your location with a decibel meter.  The officer will determine if the if there is a violation and take the appropriate action.

Please do not call 9-1-1 if it is not an emergency.

Do I need a noise permit for a special event?

The new noise Ordinance allows for City staff to issue noise permits without going to City Council.  If you are having an event and believe you will be making noise that would normally not be allowed, please call Public Works at 979-337-7400, or go to the City of Brenham website to fill out a noise permit application.

Please plan ahead and request a noise permit at least 30 days in advance of your event!

Does the Noise Ordinance apply to properties outside of the City limits?

No.  Only property owners within the City limits must comply with the noise nuisance ordinance.  Similarly, citations will not be issued based on complaints from residents outside the City limits.

Remember, the best way to prevent a complaint is to be a good neighbor and make no more noise than necessary!

Can I get a copy of the new ordinance?

Yes!  We will be happy to print you a copy at City Hall, or you can request an email copy by contacting Karen Stack at kstack@cityofbrenham.org.

You may also find the noise Ordinance in the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 17, here.

Where can I go for more information?

If you have additional questions about how the noise ordinance works, please contact City Secretary Jeana Bellinger at 979-337-7567 or email jbellinger@cityofbrenham.org.