An Atlanta City Council member has proposed an ordinance to keep recording studios 500 feet away from residential areas, mandating them to get special use permits.
Atlanta has been known for being the epicenter of Hip-Hop music over the last 15 years. However, a proposed city ordinance could affect how musicians in the city record.
Channel 11 News reports that city council member Felicia Moore has proposed an ordinance that would restrict recording studios from being built or operated within 500 feet of a residential area. The ordinance would also require that studios get special use permits.
The proposal comes after people living near studios have become more concerned for safety and quality of life in the wake of recent violent incidents. The most infamous being the shootout that occurred outside of 2 Chainz’ Street Execs Studios that resulted in the death of Bankroll Fresh this past March. A second Atlanta studio shooting happened in April where two men were killed.
Some musicians and industry people have already voiced concerns saying the ordinance will make it more difficult for studios to open, hinder how studios are run, thus stifling the music. Many studios ranging from Stankonia Studios to Patchwerk Studios sit right in the middle of residential neighborhoods and have become landmarks in those communities.
Councilwoman Moore insists that the proposed ordinance is not a studio shakedown. Churches, hospitals and day care centers all have to file for special use permits and she insists that the process will not make things hard for recording studios.
“We don’t have day cares running out of the city because they have to get a special use permit,” she tells Channel 11 News. “Neither will it be for recording studios because for the most part, I say 99 percent of them are OK.”
A City of Atlanta official with the Office of Planning that handles ordinances tells HipHopWired the proposal comes from a combination of complaints, as well as some city housekeeping. For years recording studios did not have to apply for special use permits because city laws never defined what a recording studio was, instead allowing them to exist catagorized as office spaces.
The city official also tells HipHopWired that long standing studios have nothing to worry about. Studios that have already been operating, with a business license, will essentially be grandfathered in if any new rules are established. But, they will have to apply for special use permits if they add on to the building or move to a new location.
People looking to build new studios will have to fall within the parameters of the new rules though. The process to get a permit approved typically takes two to three months. Approval is not always guaranteed either as they are examined on a case-by-case basis and voted on by a board. Some permits may stipulate the times the studios are allowed to open and close and the amount of people allowed at or around the studio throughout the day.
The city official also tells HipHopWired that punishments for breaking the ordinance start with a warning and eventually graduate to fines and possible revocation for repeat offenders.
The new ordinance is expected to be voted on in early 2017.