San Francisco passes ‘agent of change’ rules

June 2015

Live events sector


San Francisco, which features some of the highest demand for living space of any city in the United States, has passed legislation to protect music venues against complaints from new neighbours who move into new residential spaces in mixed-use neighbourhoods. Music Times reports that many venues had spent money on insulation and other options to reduce the amount of noise escaping the building, often to little avail when their new neighbours complained or brought legal action.
The new legislation passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors puts the onus on developers, and not the venues, to protect residents – the so called ‘agent of change‘ approach. As long as an existing venue operates under the normal noise regulations that it opened with, it can’t be held legally responsible by those living above and around for noise complaints. Instead, a resident would bring a complaint against the developer, at which point a court would decide whether they had done enough to inform the buyer of the potential for sound from the nearby concert hall.  Jocelyn Kane, executive director of the Entertainment Commission. “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.”
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