Near Northsiders Sue To Stop White Oak Music Hall Stage Construction, Outdoor Noiseboosting


A lawsuit filed yesterday by a group of 9 residents of the area around White Oak Music Hall asks for both a temporary and permanent stop on the construction and permitting of the permanent outdoor stage planned for the venue, as well as its required entourage of new bathrooms. The suit also asks for a stop on all other amplified outdoor events at the complex (including those on the other smaller outdoor stages by bar-on-a-stick Raven Tower), and for damages related to noise nuisance issues — allegedly including sleep deprivation and bass-fueled vibrations strong enough to rattle windows and picture frames. (There’s also an affidavit from a schoolteacher in support of the plaintiffs’ contention that a neighborhood child diagnosed with a specific condition has been suffering panic attacks directly related to the noise.)

The map above of the area around Little White Oak Bayou‘s I-45 crossunder was included with the group’s filing. The map shows the 2-part venue’s stages in red and Raven Tower in its signature blue, along with some quarter-mile radius circles drawn over the sea of orange residential land; pink is for parking lots, and yellow shows the venue’s Lawn area.


The temporary stage that had been filling in indefinitely for the permanent one is being taken apart this week to make room for the long-term stage’s construction, according to the filing.  A hearing on the requested temporary stop is scheduled for this afternoon. 

Image: Harris County District Clerk’s office

Stage Fight

26 Comment

  • Can we get more jpeg in the map? I can almost read what each color and line represent in the legend.

    Or, you can just make the map clickable to a larger, more readable size. Just a thought.

  • any link to the court documents?

  • Done, Getoffamylawn!

  • surprised it took them this long

  • Agree with gapa, if you have the court document please link/post.

  • As an Inner Looper for nearly 30 years, I never knew there was a “Historic Germantown” or “Glen Park” before today.
    Woodland Heights and Near Northside: known items. When I hear Glen Park, I think of the neighborhood in San Francisco but not Houston. But, the “Historic Germantown” sounds made up.
    Back on topic, I’m rooting for the 9 residents who filed a lawsuit to stop a permanent open-air music hall in their neighborhood.

  • Thanks, gapa and Diaspora — a link to the original petition has been added; the rest can be found by logging into the Harris County district clerk’s system.

  • Christine is spoiling you guys.

  • The COH sound ordinance prohibits over _____? There are nuisance laws. There’s suppose to be guide lines on traffic as part of permit process. Although there are no zoning laws in the COH, this is no Ashby, its 10x worse.

    40-50 or so new bathrooms is more than the Houston Zoo. Alcohol being sold / served.

    I “wonder” how much the original construction permit (if it showed a outdoor stage) really cost at Mayor Parker’s City Hall? A better question would be

    Emperor Mayor Turner has mishandled the outdoor stage from his Day One. There seems to be some “hold over COH influence” for this project in Turner Administration.

    Great forum — wrong place.

    Glad to see Atty Feldman, of Mayor Parker’s City Hall is representing the home owners.

  • Awesome venue they have built. WOMH has done nothing but revitalize (or should I just say ‘vitalize’ as I don’t think this area has ever been vital to anything) that area and increase overall property values. No one wanted to be there before this development and it will spur additional development on the east side of 45, adding additional amenities and removing blight. Gentrification is a good thing and WOMH has helped inject life into an otherwise crap neighborhood. I hope this suite is quickly thrown out.

  • This is a first class operation, with a really nice facility, and they followed all the city’s rules (as far as the building goes). They’ve provided CoH mandated parking. The CoH sound ordinances limit the dB levels at the property limits. Why can’t the city enforce that?

    The outdoor stage is another story entirely; sounds like that needs to go away.

  • that damn music is making it hard for them to hear the highway noise.

  • Good for these homeowners. This place should never have been permitted in the first place. Idiots.

  • @sbv Sorry, otherwise crap neighborhood? Gentrification was coming to this area whether this development came or not. People don’t want to pay the high prices of the Heights and instead move into this area, and there have been dozens upon dozens of upscale homes being built in the area. I’m a white software developer and moved into this area 4 years back without a problem. Now, I’m not suing at all, but when the inside shows are on, the bass is literally permeating throughout my bedroom and I live several blocks away. The I-45 noise was simply background (white) noise… the noise this place is generating is something else entirely. I think if that nonsense was going on in your own house, you’d be singing a different tune. But, as the developers are finding out, they most likely expected not much protest against it in what they thought was a predominately working-class Hispanic area that wouldn’t put up much of a fight… guess they’re finding out differently.

  • I hope they get lots of damages. This is ridiculous to build Woodstock in someone’s neighborhood. Nuisance laws mean the city doesn’t regulate everything – other laws cover this – and it sounds like these folks are basically being assaulted. You can be a Nuisance and still have all your permits.

  • @sbv Yeah, those poor people should be glad to lose peace & quiet & sleep at home for privilege of hosting an outdoor stage that most of them will never use. I mean, the neighborhood isn’t affluent – why do the residents think they are allowed to enjoy it?

  • Someone Needs to check, the Developer- Owner-Mgmt company, “Contributions” to Parker’s campaign.

    The Permitting – Approval process on new construction in Houston isn’t easy / this deal likely needed Very “special handling” inside and outside normal permitting process.

    Current City Council – Mayor Turners handling of noise, traffic and neighborhood quality of life regarding WOMH has been as pitiful, as Turner’s Pension 2017 plan solution.

    Basically no solution at all.

    In Houston, Always Follow the Money to find the Insiders.

    Most of the Politiians at Houston City Hall sitting around the “horse shoe” have one basic rule– Follow the Mayor- follow the Money..

  • Scarlet Fever, I lived on the block of North St. for years that is labeled “Historic Germantown”. I never knew that’s what they called it but, I have to say, I also felt like we really weren’t Woodland Heights either so it makes sense to me. It just felt very different from the houses a block away- definitely older houses and not planned out like the Woodland Heights. It would been interesting to see the rest of the neighborhood that they destroyed when they put 45 in.

  • Then by all means take Omar and his crew to the cleaners, there’s really no need for outdoor shows in a neighborhood like setting. Nimby’s versus trust funded babies, on the next Geraldo.

  • I wouldn’t want to live near this place either. The residents were there first, WOMH should go, or at least invest in much better soundproofing.

  • Why is this going on after the fact ? Didn’t the Developers have to get permits for financing ? The COH would have to approve the plans and all that stuff . How come they didn’t seem to appreciate that this is an outdoor music theatre that will have a hundreds of people that need parking, bathrooms, etc. There will be big Amplifiers, light shows and music late into the night by a a bunch of residences that are on narrow streets. If I invested a ton money into this project I’d be really upset to be sued, but then I’d just as unhappy if I was living by an outdoor theater with no sound buffers .. And I love a party and a concert but not 50 yards from me all the time.

  • WOMH has mostly been operating without proper permits, and should have been shut down months ago, but somebody at the city government level has been giving them a free pass…. methinks that there is something shady going on behind the scenes at city hall.

    This venue never should have been allowed to even start up, and from what I understand the neighbors have been trying to stop it before ground was even broken. This lawsuit is a step in the right direction, and sends a message to any developers or concert promoters that they can’t just plop an outdoor music venue into the middle of an existing neighborhood. Think about it…. if WOMH were allowed to continue with their shenanigans, that means that no neighborhood, anywhere, is safe from this kind of development.

  • Wonder if there are any repetitive loss properties along the bayou there. COH/HCFCD could get some FEMA money tear down all the houses build a park with thick trees as buffers and put in some retention ponds. Then we get a cool venue, a cool park, less flooding and no more neighbors to complain!

  • Wow I guess the NIMBYs that live there want the neighborhood to continue to look like big pile of crap instead of actually getting revitalized. Ahhhhh Houston and its crappy ditch filled “historic” neighborhoods.

  • This music site is awesome. I live in the neighborhood and am thrilled at the new additions. All this will do is drive my property value up. It already has. I suggest these 9 people take the money and run. You can live anywhere and someone is going to pay you much more than you paid for the house to be close to the venue. Houston has no zoning everyone here knows that, if you don’t like city living move to the suburbs or country if you want peace and quiet.

  • Living in the country does not guarantee you peace and quiet. Not unless you can afford to buy 200 acres. Generally, true country properties (not in country subdivisions) are unrestricted, which means you have no control over what your neighbor does or plays. I get to hear trucks with massive stereo systems parked in their yard blaring, a new gun range nearby (to play with their AR what-evers and must be a 50 cal), and the wonderful sound of 40+ dogs every morning and evening at the dog breeder next door (moved in 3 months after I bought my place). But, at least I don’t have a garbage dump, like the one trying to move in on people around Hempstead.