Breed proposes legislation to protect nightclubs from noise complaints

Supervisor London Breed introduced an ordinance at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday to preserve The City's music venues at a time when residential units are being built in formerly commercial areas.

Breed said that among the music venues that have had to close or are about to close their doors due to development pressure and other factors are Cafe du Nord, Red Devil Lounge and the Lexington Club, among others.

She said that her proposed ordinance could help protect venues such as The Independent in the Western Addition neighborhood, Bottom of the Hill in the Potrero Hill neighborhood and Elbo Room in the Mission district.

The ordinance, if passed, would require “developers to engage with existing venues from the outset” thus protecting venues from unfair noise complaints down the road, and ensuring that residents are informed about any nearby music venues before they rent or buy property.

Breed reminded the board that not only do nightclubs, music halls, and theaters generate roughly $800 million each year and attract millions of visitors to The City, but that they are also “an integral part of our culture, of what makes us San Francisco” and the reason people want to live here in the first place.

To help music venues stand up against noise complaints from their new residential neighbors, Breed's ordinance prevents venues from being deemed a legal “nuisance” if they are operating within their permit.

Furthermore, Breed's ordinance encourages developers, the San Francisco Entertainment Commission and music venue operators to engage in dialogue long before new residences are built.

The ordinance, if passed, would require highly accurate sound tests before developers build near an established venue and that potential residents are informed about the music venue well in advance.

Breed said she hopes her proposed legislation preserves storied music venues in a time of rapid residential development across San Francisco.

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