With noise complaints from residents in buildings that have recently risen or been converted in neighborhoods that were formerly commercial in character and have historically catered to clubs and other places of entertainment (POEs) on the rise, legislation to protect the POEs and require those buying or leasing residences near said POEs to be made aware and explicitly acknowledge the inconveniences that should be expected from choosing to live in such neighborhoods (such as “noise, odor and litter”) has been drafted.

At the heart of the legislation sponsored by Supervisors Breed and Wiener and making its way towards the Board of Supervisors for a vote: new Administrative Code Chapter 116.

Chapter 116 would provide that a permitted POE shall not constitute a public or private nuisance on the basis of noise for residents of residential buildings constructed or converted for residential use within the past 10 years.

Chapter 116 would also create a hearing process at the Entertainment Commission for new residential construction and conversion within 300 feet of a permitted POE, which a project sponsor would be required to attend; would authorize the Entertainment Commission to measure noise generated by such POEs; and would prohibit the issuance of development permits until the Entertainment Commission hearing process has been completed and the Entertainment Commission has submitted its comments and recommendations, if any, to the Planning Department and Department of Building Inspection.

In addition, Chapter 116 would require that all owners of residential property within 300 feet of a POE provide a disclosure notice to new purchasers and lessees that the nearby POE may subject them to inconveniences such as noise, odor and litter. A notice of special restriction shall be recorded against newly approved residential developments containing this notice requirement.

The proposed ordinance would require developers to proactively design buildings with “the needs and interests of both the Places of Entertainment and the future residents of the new development” in mind and re-establishes interior noise level limits for new residences that builders would be required to achieve.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by frog

    I bought a place near a club and I support this legislation. I knew what I was getting into when I moved in. But I also like living somewhere with a bit of action at night and don’t want other people to move in and then shoot down the fun. I’ve spent a couple thousand dollars dealing with the noise. That was expected and it’s my responsibility.

    • Posted by Miah

      I love you, Frog. We need more SF-ers like you, who don’t just think about themselves, but consider that they are moving to a city, for all that means.

      • Posted by frog

        I’m far more annoyed by the constant fire engines going everywhere. My windows/sound blocking curtains won’t block them out and there aren’t anywhere near that number of fires. At least the club gets quiet at 1:30 on weekends.

        • Posted by Jake

          Might not be safe to live where you can’t hear a fire siren outside your window. That said, I sympathize, get to hear plenty myself.
          Most SFFD calls are medical not fire. From their website:
          In 1997, the Department of Public Health, Paramedic Division merged with the San Francisco Fire Department. This merger placed ambulances at Fire Stations and adjusted the paramedic work schedule to 24-hour shifts.
          The Department responds to an average of over 73,000 EMS calls per year (more than 200 per day), and as of 2010, provides about 80% of the ambulance response in the City and County of San Francisco.

          • Posted by frog

            True, but at the same time, they often respond to medical calls with an ambulance and two fire trucks. They do this to keep their number of responses high because it justifies their funding, not because a medical emergency requires a fire truck.

  2. Posted by R

    Good policy apart from the hearing requirement. I worry that ends up being just more red tape and delay to getting a project approved. If the tenants and owners are made aware of the nuisance that should be enough.

  3. Posted by moto mayhem

    OK. noise I get. But litter and odor. what does that have to do with a club?

  4. Posted by anon

    I will be selling my property only to the deaf and the smell challenged. Why more regulation when triple or quadruple pane glass windows/soundproofing could solve the noise issue. Odors and litter happens in any area where they are pedestrians and people. I thought there is already city zoning for nightclubs, etc.

    TGIF, it is exhausting reading through Socketsite comments. I am taking a week off to do real work.

  5. Posted by Jackson

    This is great legislation and good foresight by our District 5 Supervisor, London Breed. With the proposed development of the A. Louis Radiator shop next door to “The Independent,” she can see possible noise issues. The Divisadero corridor benefits by having nightlife businesses. Since 4505 Meats has located on opposite the corner, the after-club people head over for some chow. Overall, the increased foot-traffic has made the street much more liveable, especially at night.

  6. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    This is what I consider good legislation. Nobody is prevented to do anything. The club can operate as before. New residences can be built. Proper disclosure are used so that people knows what they get into.

  7. Posted by dotpocalypse now

    How about clubs encroaching on neighborhoods? In the Mission its more that. They open “venue’s” that serve bad food which no one actually orders or eats, then they get a liquor license, then they apply to the rubber stamp entertainment commission for a POE thingy, then they rent it out to DJ’s party-throwers and bring on the busses from San Jose. I think that real estate money isn’t the only crowd who has Supes Weiner and Breed in their pockets…

  8. Posted by Jackson

    dotpocalypse, until your posting I was unaware of this kind of venue issue in the Mission; and I haven’t read about problems in forums such as Socketsite, Mission Local, etc.

    Respectfully, could you please expand on the location, and time frame of what was there first?

    From everything I see the Mission is a hot real estate market so certainly there is demand to live in the neighborhood.

  9. Posted by Anon

    Can you even name one Mission club that has followed that formula within the past couple years, dotpocalypse now?

  10. Posted by bmoney

    more red needless red tape. disclosing the distance to the club and potential noise to buyers is all that is needed. having the Entertainment commission weigh in on building construction for sound proofing seems a far reach. we are an anti chain retail city but we let clubs tell developers how to soundproof their building. am it the only one in the city who thinks every supervisor seems to make up issues to legislate.

    • Posted by brooder

      I second that. The spirit of the legislation is right. However, disclosure should be enough, not another hoop in a lengthy development process.

  11. Posted by dotpocalypse now

    This is just the list of POE applications for the 1st half of January. They ALL get rubber stamped, and the hundreds before them (2014, 2013, etc.) are conveniently removed from the Entertainment Commission’s website so that after the fact no one can readily trace back the paper trail. Its a total scam.

    Horner’s Corner 1199 Church St. Limited Live Performance 1/6/15 1/2/15
    The Empire Room 555 Golden Gate Place of Entertainment 1/6/15 1/2/15
    Odd Job 1337 Mission St. Place of Entertainment 1/6/15 1/2/15
    Great Star Theater 636 Jackson Place of Entertainment 1/6/15 1/2/15
    Fort 1 2801 Leavenworth Place of Entertainment 1/6/15 1/2/15
    Mad Dog In The Fog 530 Haight St. Billiard Table 1/6/15 1/2/15
    Mochica 1469 18th St. Place of Entertainment 1/20/15 1/16/15
    Whole Foods 1150 Ocean Ave. Limited Live Performance 1/20/15 1/16/15

    • Posted by david m

      wow, wonder what’s happening at the great star. empire room is taking over the old trader vic’s space, i guess, will be neat to see that re-activated with a bar or something, though i wish it would end up a high rise of some sort. overall, glad to see these businesses doing their thing.

    • Posted by kbbl

      Ooh, Mad Dog is getting a pool table! Nice.

    • Posted by Dan

      For real? The DJs at the Mad Dog have got you in a twist? And so what? There’s a permit process, just like the proposed permit process for residential encroaching on POE. You don’t want them, send a letter and attend the planning meetings.

    • Posted by Brian M

      But most of these do not appear to be brand new clubs or significant expansions. I mean…a bar adding a billiards table. A Whole Foods adding an occasion wabling folk duo. Mochica is not a bad restaurant.Pre-existing clubs.

      Your list does not make your case very well.

  12. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Whole Foods? What is the world coming too!

  13. Posted by c_q

    If you buy a place they already have these things called ‘disclosures’ that you sign that state you understand what is in the area (and if something is there that the previous owner should have reasonably known about but didn’t disclose, that’s grounds for going after that owner). So having a law on top of that seems redundant.

    For renters, however, that may make some sense to add – but what about ‘airbnb’ and similar situations?

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