Westside Residents and Bar Owners Discuss Noise Issues

Last summer’s demolition of buildings on the lot of the proposed Melrose Triangle project may be the reason for an uptick in noise complaints in recent months. That was the conclusion drawn from a meeting Tuesday night between Boystown bar/restaurant owners and area residents.

Meeting at City Council Chambers to discuss Norma Triangke noise issues

Without the presence of those buildings to block sound, noise is flowing freely into residential areas in the adjacent Norma Triangle neighborhood.

About two dozen people, primarily bar and restaurant owners, attended the meeting initiated by Councilmember Lauren Meister and the city’s Code Compliance division to address an increase in noise complaints in the past six months.

Jackie Rocco, the head of the city’s Public Works division, noted that noise complaints began in late summer/early fall 2019, soon after several buildings in the triangle-shaped area bounded by Santa Monica Boulevard, Melrose Avenue and Almont Drive met the wrecking ball. Those buildings were demolished to make room for the Melrose Triangle office-residential-retail project.

“Perhaps those buildings acted as a buffer,” Rocco said.

A similar situation happened in late 2008 when there was an increase in noise complaints from Norma Triangle residents following the demolition of the Pavilions grocery store building at 8969 Santa Monica Blvd. Once that grocery store was rebuilt, the noise complaints died down, suggesting the Pavilions building blocked noise from reaching the Norma Triangle homes.

Representatives from almost all the major Boystown bars were present for the meeting – The Abbey, Micky’s, Rage, Motherlode, Trunks, Fiesta Cantina, Roccos, Pump, the Troubadour and the Doheny Room. In fact, the Abbey had seven people present, including owner David Cooley.

One resident living several blocks up Hilldale Avenue from Santa Monica Boulevard, said there is a street musician who begins performing in the late night/early morning hours on the northwest corner of Santa Monica and Hilldale. As he uses an amplifier, the music travels uphill, the resident said.. Representatives from Rocco’s restaurant noted that the performer begins about 2 a.m., apparently hoping to collect tips from people as the bars are closing.

Danny Rivas, the city’s code compliance manager, noted that changes in laws from Sacramento allow for street performers and sidewalk vendors as long as they are not blocking the sidewalk or causing tripping hazards with extension cords. However, his staff can cite the performer for the amplified noise.

Rivas reported that his staff has been doing “pro-active sound checks” about midnight in various intersections. Members of the code compliance staff patrol Norma Triangle streets and when they hear noise will phone colleagues on Santa Monica Boulevard, describing the noise they hear. The colleagues then try to find the source of the noise.

“We’re doing sound checks that aren’t initiated by a specific complaint,” Rivas explained to WEHOville. “We’ll go to these intersections, we’re looking to see if we can make out the lyrics of the song or the type of music that’s being played, can we hear the bass . . . We’re doing these from the residential areas where we’re hearing concerns from.”

Rivas and his staff first met with bar and restaurant owners/managers on Nov. 26 to discuss the noise complaints and explain how the city enforces the noise ordinances. He said the owners were receptive to the issue and committed to solving the problems.

Abbey owner David Cooley, who lives in West Hollywood, said that area bars want to be good neighbors and are sensitive to noise complaints. However, he suggested that outside promoters who have no ongoing connection to the city may not be as careful about keeping a check on noise when they come into a club.

“I think [it’s important] the city really makes sure the outside promotors have their licenses and know what the city expects, what the neighbors expect, that the vendors hiring that promotor know what they should be aware of to respect our community,” said Cooley.

The meeting ended after just 20 minutes as there were few residents in attendance. A televised Presidential debate happening at the same time may have kept some residents from attending.

Rivas plans to hold another meeting with bar owners and residents in the spring, likely in April. In the meantime, Rivas was happy with the response from Tuesday’s meeting.

“I think the meeting went great,” Rivas told WEHOville. “From the level of participation from the businesses, they were here and we’re working in partnership. We have some steps to move forward in continuing our efforts.”

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Jon
Jon
10 months ago

I didn’t even know about this meeting. It should have been more widely publicized.

Randy
Randy
10 months ago

So your argument about few residents showing up is that the City should be doing their job already? Please do not fault the City for trying to create an open dialogue to discuss the issue. That doesn’t make it “resident policing.” It simply gives you an opportunity to have you voice heard, publicly. This was an opportunity to communicate with you local government, local business owners, in a public forum. And it was publicized.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
10 months ago

agreed. well put.

MFB
MFB
10 months ago

And Flaming Saddles has speakers in a cut out above the windows facing to the sidewalk blasting music.

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
10 months ago

THANK YOU. I thought I was losing it. The Melrose Triangle is on the South Side and all the way towards the Western Edge of Weho.

I do thing the massive growth of outdoor bar/restaurant is the biggest issue.

ONCE the Sunset Projects finish and open their various outdoor (roof/patio) planned bars, restaurants or Private Clubs inside the Private Buildings like the Actors or Entertainers Project.

Up The Street
Up The Street
10 months ago

We live in a city, a city is noisy. I too live in the Norma Triangle just up the street from the main strip. I am also a morning person who found the clubbing on weekdays to be excessive. However, I purchased a white noise machine to mute the helicopters, sirens from the nearby firehouse, AND the bass from clubs and now I sleep just fine. Code compliance should take egregious offenders to task. For the most part, I think a lot of this boils down to a good old fashioned case of “get off my lawn syndrome.” If you… Read more »

JJ1
JJ1
10 months ago
Reply to  Up The Street

Yes, living in a city is noisy. There’s a difference between ambient noise or a passing fire truck now and again and the constant thumping of bass/music for hours each night, past midnight.

blueeyedboy
blueeyedboy
10 months ago
Reply to  Up The Street

Yep, a “white-noise” machine is one of the best inventions since air conditioning! It’s the solution to the problems I’m reading about here.

Get one! It’ll change your life!

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
10 months ago

I’m 4 blocks away from the Abbey and can hear it every weekend. These bars should be closed.

C.R.
C.R.
10 months ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

So I guess all the dwellings close to bowling alleys and gun fire ranges were taken and you settled on this in seeking the quiet life?

JJ1
JJ1
10 months ago
Reply to  C.R.

No one should hear noise from establishment four blocks away. Period.

BFM
BFM
10 months ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

The bars should not be closed. That’s ridiculous. We want them to thrive and make money for the city. But they should be made to keep their sound at levels so that it doesn’t transcend a quarter of a mile away into a neighborhood.

Randy
Randy
10 months ago
Reply to  BFM

Precisely. I lived behind Revolver for 5 years. I knew what I was getting into when I moved there. That’s not to say this issue should not be addressed, if it is worse than when I lived there.