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Costa Mesa : Bill to Limit Noise at Amphitheater Shelved

Legislation that would limit noise from the Pacific Amphitheatre will sit on the back burner awhile to permit action taken by the Orange County Fair Board against amphitheater operators to proceed, state Sen. John Seymour (R-Anaheim) said Tuesday.

Seymour said he decided to shelve the bill after the Fair Board last month notified theater operator Ned West Inc. that it was in default of its lease agreement with the state because of alleged contract violations. In its notice, the board cited excessive litter, improper stage construction as well as concert noise that exceed Costa Mesa statutes as grounds for contract default.

Despite the fact that Fair Board President Clinton Hoose last week sent a letter to Seymour asking him to kill the bill, Seymour said he decided to keep the legislation alive in case “things should bog down.”

“I’m very heartened by their action and I think it’s a positive step,” Seymour said. “If they follow through as they say they will, there is no need for my bill.”

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In a notice mailed to Ned West Aug. 13, A. Wells Petersen, deputy attorney general, and Norb Bartosik, fairgrounds manager, gave the firm 30 days to answer nine alleged lease violations, including “failure to comply with an implied covenant not to violate laws in the operation of the amphitheater” or face legal action.

The amphitheater has been the target of noise complaints since it opened in 1983. Although Costa Mesa has a noise-abatement law, a Superior Court judge ruled earlier this year that the municipal law does not apply to the amphitheater because it is on state-owned property. The ruling is under appeal.

The Senate measure, based on Orange County noise standards, would limit amphitheater noise to 70 decibels. If revived in January and subsequently passed, the bill could become law by next summer.

Seymour said he would drop the bill as soon as Ned West becomes “sensitive to the city noise ordinance and gives some peace and quiet to people living around the amphitheater.”

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