The controversial LifeAustin Amphitheater opened last month with The Katinas. The Gatlin Brothers are booked for August 28th.
by Ann Fowler
OAK HILL – Pastor Randy Phillips realized a dream when the LifeAustin Amphitheater opened last month. The LifeAustin Church is located on 68 acres on Highway 71 across from the Travis County Precinct 3 offices, and includes a dog park, disc golf and walking trails available for use by local residents.
Pastor Phillips said of the amphitheater, “We built this facility with the community in mind,” so it is ironic that local neighborhoods have fought against it.
Midwood Parkway resident David VanDelinder feels the venue warrants an amplified sound permit, but Pastor John Capezzuti said, “Under the direction of the city we are able to operate under the rural residential code 9.2.5”—which restricts hours and sets a maximum decibel range.
Pastor Phillips said the church invested heavily to make sure sound is not a problem to the neighbors. He said, “At the testing, we were 10 decibels less than allowed.”
Don Pitts, the city’s Music & Entertainment Division Manager, told the Gazette that the system used in the LifeAustin amphitheater “is an industry leader due to its superb sound and directionality.” Asked if the church went above and beyond what it needed to regarding noise mitigation, Pitts replied, ” In my opinion yes, far more than other venues we deal with on a regular basis.” He said a sound permit is not required for the LifeAustin amphitheater.
VanDelinder said he and his neighbors can “clearly” hear the music from the amphitheater—and does not consider it a benefit. He said, “There is little doubt in my mind that our property values will decline as a result of this music venue. We will continue to seek relief from the city through legal and administrative channels.”
Other Oak Hill residents are looking forward to attending the amphitheater events. Deb Erlanson said the Austin summer heat will keep her indoors for now, but she said, “I look forward to fall and winter to see what performers they have. Good on them for pressing forward.”
The current schedule includes a free movie night on August 21 featuring Big Hero 6, The Gatlin Brothers on August 28th, and Phillips’ own trio, Phillips, Craig & Dean, performing September 4. For more information, see http://www.lifeaustinamp.com/.
LifeAustin Church is located at 8901 W. Highway 71.