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Maybe Gaslamp should only allow deaf people to live there

Sugar Factory wants live music till 2 am

Sugar Factory salsa dancing on rooftop, October, 2021
Sugar Factory salsa dancing on rooftop, October, 2021

It was slated to be the loudest live music venue in the Gaslamp Quarter, residents said. So loud, the rooftop bar proposed for the Sugar Factory on 5th Avenue would have violated San Diego's noise ordinance. In fact, it already has.

Place

Sugar Factory American Brasserie: Theatre Box

701 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Last week, due to opposition from neighbors and the police, who say live outdoor entertainment was occurring before it was even approved, the Planning Commission denied the restaurant a permit for such use.

But the clash between residents and businesses is far from over as the city strives to promote a transit-friendly, mixed-use downtown.

"Every room in our small condo faces this venue," said a letter from Justin Brookshier, a resident of the Alta building on 6th Avenue. Having DJs and sound directed their way is "like having a live band right outside your window."

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The Sugar Factory's 3,000-square-foot rooftop deck has a permit that allows ambient recorded music no later than 1:30 a.m.

Another neighbor described all-night parties and loud music coming from who knows where that can be heard with the windows closed. No let up. The police won't respond. Also within earshot are a five-story condominium and four-story apartment.

"Rooftop noise has been a huge issue for us," said Tony Khalil, the city's noise administrator. "It truly is a nuisance."

Enforcement is hit or miss since code enforcement staff doesn't work at night when the racket occurs, and the San Diego Police Department often has bigger priorities than noise complaints.

According to a report, the city has approved only six conditional use permits for outdoor live entertainment over the last 15 years (Andaz; Omnia; Quartyard II; Pendry Hotel Pool Deck; Fifth & J Restaurant; and AC Hotel).

These set strict requirements on sound system levels, prohibiting outside sound and amplification equipment from being brought in for events, requiring a noise study, and establishing a process for revoking the permits of bad actors.

But neighbors say noise pollution in the area is extreme, from pedicabs to live street musicians on 5th and Market. At least one bar violates the ordinance by keeping their windows and doors open.

No permit is required for ambient or background noise, which is higher in urban areas - and that includes recorded DJ music. The city's noise ordinance limit is 50 dB, which they compare to "Quiet Urban Daytime" outdoors.

The Sugar Factory's 3,000-square-foot rooftop deck has a permit that allows ambient recorded music no later than 1:30 a.m. Hours for live entertainment were proposed until 2:00 a.m., seven days a week.

Permits were also sought by the owner (Oliver McMillan Gaslamp Theatres, LLC), to allow live entertainment indoors on the ground floor and second floor, as well as sidewalk café and street-level outdoor dining.

The project had the support of the Downtown Community Planning Council, which praised the new venues it would bring to the Gaslamp, and recommended limited hours for live entertainment. Commissioners approved everything except the amplified outdoor live entertainment, citing the unneighborly history.

According to Javier Nicholas, a San Diego police detective who fielded multiple violations by the restaurant from April to October, the business blatantly ignored warnings. Live entertainment was going on the entire time they were applying for a permit.

During one visit, the plainclothes detective was met by security who told him to move aside as they rushed to pull the DJ off the stage.

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Sugar Factory salsa dancing on rooftop, October, 2021
Sugar Factory salsa dancing on rooftop, October, 2021

It was slated to be the loudest live music venue in the Gaslamp Quarter, residents said. So loud, the rooftop bar proposed for the Sugar Factory on 5th Avenue would have violated San Diego's noise ordinance. In fact, it already has.

Place

Sugar Factory American Brasserie: Theatre Box

701 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Last week, due to opposition from neighbors and the police, who say live outdoor entertainment was occurring before it was even approved, the Planning Commission denied the restaurant a permit for such use.

But the clash between residents and businesses is far from over as the city strives to promote a transit-friendly, mixed-use downtown.

"Every room in our small condo faces this venue," said a letter from Justin Brookshier, a resident of the Alta building on 6th Avenue. Having DJs and sound directed their way is "like having a live band right outside your window."

Sponsored
Sponsored
The Sugar Factory's 3,000-square-foot rooftop deck has a permit that allows ambient recorded music no later than 1:30 a.m.

Another neighbor described all-night parties and loud music coming from who knows where that can be heard with the windows closed. No let up. The police won't respond. Also within earshot are a five-story condominium and four-story apartment.

"Rooftop noise has been a huge issue for us," said Tony Khalil, the city's noise administrator. "It truly is a nuisance."

Enforcement is hit or miss since code enforcement staff doesn't work at night when the racket occurs, and the San Diego Police Department often has bigger priorities than noise complaints.

According to a report, the city has approved only six conditional use permits for outdoor live entertainment over the last 15 years (Andaz; Omnia; Quartyard II; Pendry Hotel Pool Deck; Fifth & J Restaurant; and AC Hotel).

These set strict requirements on sound system levels, prohibiting outside sound and amplification equipment from being brought in for events, requiring a noise study, and establishing a process for revoking the permits of bad actors.

But neighbors say noise pollution in the area is extreme, from pedicabs to live street musicians on 5th and Market. At least one bar violates the ordinance by keeping their windows and doors open.

No permit is required for ambient or background noise, which is higher in urban areas - and that includes recorded DJ music. The city's noise ordinance limit is 50 dB, which they compare to "Quiet Urban Daytime" outdoors.

The Sugar Factory's 3,000-square-foot rooftop deck has a permit that allows ambient recorded music no later than 1:30 a.m. Hours for live entertainment were proposed until 2:00 a.m., seven days a week.

Permits were also sought by the owner (Oliver McMillan Gaslamp Theatres, LLC), to allow live entertainment indoors on the ground floor and second floor, as well as sidewalk café and street-level outdoor dining.

The project had the support of the Downtown Community Planning Council, which praised the new venues it would bring to the Gaslamp, and recommended limited hours for live entertainment. Commissioners approved everything except the amplified outdoor live entertainment, citing the unneighborly history.

According to Javier Nicholas, a San Diego police detective who fielded multiple violations by the restaurant from April to October, the business blatantly ignored warnings. Live entertainment was going on the entire time they were applying for a permit.

During one visit, the plainclothes detective was met by security who told him to move aside as they rushed to pull the DJ off the stage.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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