Effort to Protect San Francisco Clubs From Noisy Lawsuits Passed By City Leaders

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Live music venues in San Francisco earned a welcome reprieve on Tuesday as the city's Board of Supervisors passed legislation aimed at protecting businesses from noise-related lawsuits, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Introduced in December by board president London Breed, the measure puts a stop to residents suing venues over noise if the club is operating within its original permit.

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With space at a premium in San Francisco, large developers have looked to the city's typically mixed-use neighborhoods to build new residential properties. Over the years, some existing venues in neighborhoods like Dogpatch, Upper Market and the Mission have been hit with lawsuits from new residents, leading to costly soundproofing and in a handful of cases, closures. Cafe du Nord, The Sound Factory and The Lexington are some of the venues that have recently changed ownership, closed or are set to close following new construction in their areas.

The new legislation requires developers and city agencies to work more closely with venues and other neighbors and to notify potential residents of the potentially noisy businesses before they buy or sign a lease.

The goal, leaders say, is to take the necessary steps to prevent noise complaints from happening while not stifling new development in the rapidly changing city.

"The soul of this city is just changing so fast, whether it's a Google bus or whatever else," Entertainment Commission executive director Jocelyn Kane told SF Weekly last month. "It's different now from what we saw in the '90s, with the amount of money, and the sustained amount of change. This legislation is important because it forces project sponsors to come talk to us and get our signoff."