The music venue Brick and Mortar Music Hall will operate under heavy restrictions as it works toward needed upgrades, the Entertainment Commission ruled this week.
The restrictions stem from nearly two years of complaints by neighbors of the venue on Mission Street near Duboce Avenue who say they have heard noise from the concert hall since it opened.
Following an hourlong discussion, the commission voted to approve numerous restrictions for the club, including limiting entertainment hours from 5 p.m. until 12:30 p.m. on weekends and 5 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. on weekdays. The sound levels of the club may also not exceed 80 decibels, which is about the level of a garbage disposal.
The commission ordered the permit holders to improve soundproofing at the front door and roof of the venue. They must tell the commission by June 15 when work will be completed.
Owners, though, say they’ve invested $50,000 in soundproofing upgrades to interior walls, skylights and the backstage area of the venue, and these new demands could doom the club.
“They said I was not taking responsibility, but I think spending 50 grand on soundproofing is pretty responsible,” owner Jason Perkins said.
Perkins added that he and his business partner will try and do more soundproofing.
Commissioners blasted the owners for not doing enough outreach to the community and ignoring the noise issues.
“You cannot have sound escaping from the venue in the matter that it is,” Commissioner Glendon Hyde said. “I think we need venues to come into compliance to continue to have a healthy nightlife.”
Vice President Audrey Joseph said she thinks the owners tried delay tactics.
“I don’t believe you have addressed the problem correctly,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense to do avoidance and find excuses instead of being a big boy and dealing with the problems.”
Some nearby residents and musicians supported the venue, saying the owners have tried to correct the problems, adding that in some cases the noise issues have improved. But others who live directly behind the building said they continue to hear the concerts.
“It’s only gotten louder,” said Elexandria Deitz, 36, a resident of Woodward Street, directly behind the venue. “I can hear on a nightly basis drums, guitar, the singing. I can hear the whole thing inside my living room.”
Deitz said she did not want to see the club closed. She and her neighbors just don’t want to hear the concerts in their homes.
Perkins said the conditions placed on the venue are too restrictive and it could force them to close despite not having any complaints from police.
“I’ve never heard of a club getting shut down when there was not complaints from police,” Perkins said. “We will close. We’ve got four other venues to run, it’s not worth it.”