Neighbors, nuns negotiate noise 

Noisy gatherings that bother neighbors doesn’t sound like something that would become an issue for a nonprofit run by nuns, but some Adeline Drive residents say that events on the Mercy High School campus are running too late, too loud and too often.

Some of the residents will present a signed petition at a special City Council meeting tonight calling for more stringent measures to keep noise and traffic at bay. They are appealing a recent Planning Commission recommendation that calls for noise and traffic from the property located at 2300 Adeline Drive to be monitored, but adds little by way of new restrictions.

"Some felt that signing the petition was signing against the sisters," said resident Linda Abbey, who noted that noise and traffic have been a problem in the area since the 1980s. "But it’s not about that, it’s about our children’s safety, vehicles not being hit and keeping a peaceful neighborhood."

The commission recommended in January that the Sisters of Mercy measure noise at their special events, which include weddings at Kohl Mansion, cultural celebrations and various school-related assemblies, and then report back in a year, city planner Meg Monroe said.

The point was to establish a baseline for exactly how noisy it was in the area, Monroe said. The school has agreed to the monitoring and noise study as well as some restrictions on event size and noise.

"The sisters and the school want to be good neighbors," Sisters of Mercy spokeswoman Liz Dossa said. "We’re concerned about the neighbors and their reasonable complaints."

However, Abbey and her neighbors in their petition say more needs to be done to control the level of noise and traffic on the narrow, winding road, which has increased as more groups seek to rent out the facilities on the sisters’ property. They would like to see non-school related events limited to once a week, set more rigid operating hours and consider making parts of Adeline one-way.

The nearly 40-acre Sisters of Mercy property, which includes Mercy Burlingame High School, was annexed into the city in 1978, but still operates under the terms of an old agreement negotiated with San Mateo County, Monroe said.

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