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Downtown Glendale could get its groove on longer, as city officials consider extending music hours

Downtown Glendale
Glendale officials have taken the first step in possibly changing its noise ordinance to allow downtown businesses to play music later. Noise studies will be conducted to see what potential impacts those changes might have.
(File photo)

Glendale’s night life could get a boost, as officials begin looking into easing noise restrictions in the city’s more bustling parts of downtown.

City Council members voted last week to examine the potential impacts of extending the hours when venues can play amplified music until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday in two downtown zones.

Currently, the cut-off for using amplified sound equipment is 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, in all parts of the city.

Glendale hasn’t updated its noise ordinance since 1991, according to Cassandra Pruett, a planner with the city. Since then, the city has encouraged downtown growth, through redevelopment efforts, amendments to its Downtown Specific Plan, the creation of an art and entertainment district, and the recent launching of a pedestrian-friendly paseo on North Artsakh Avenue between Wilson Avenue and Broadway.

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“For these businesses, the restrictions on the use of amplified sound equipment might act as a restriction on their business operations, which, in turn, may hinder the ongoing efforts of promoting a vibrant downtown,” Pruett said during a special council meeting held last Tuesday.

However, she pointed out that much of the downtown development that has taken place includes multifamily housing.

“In some cases, [they’re] located adjacent to these high-entertainment areas, where amplified sound late into the evening might cause a conflict,” she said.

To better understand possible conflicts, the city will contract with an acoustic engineer to conduct sound studies and analyze the results.

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Impending studies will involve testing noise levels on both busy streets and nearby residential streets in the two areas earmarked for potential changes: the district around the Alex Theatre and an area called the arts-and-entertainment district, which is Maryland/Artsakh avenues from Wilson to Harvard Street.

The goal is to establish a baseline ambient-sound level for each area, according to Bradley Calvert, the city’s assistant director of community development.

The studies could also look at sound-mitigation techniques, including sound barriers, noise-canceling speakers and limiting the number of sound permits per area, Pruett said.

According to City Council members, they voted to study a broad time frame to gather as much information as possible. They can then decide to limit the scope of any changes they might make — such as fewer days and/or earlier hours.

While Councilwoman Paula Devine supported studying extending the hours on Thursday through Saturday until 2 a.m., she suggested she would not ultimately extend the hours on Thursday or Sunday.

Mayor Ara Najarian asked that city staff clarify the enforcement piece of the ordinance.

“I don’t want to create an ordinance that the police can’t enforce, or they’ll have to have too much subjective judgment. It should be more objective,” Najarian said, suggesting that it clearly delineate what triggers a violation.

City staff is already working with local police enforcement to tackle that aspect, said Philip Lanzafame, the city’s director of community development.

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Correction: a previous article stated Councilwoman Paula Devine said she would limit extending the hours on Saturday, so as not to affect Sunday’s current sound restrictions. She did not say she would limit extending hours on Saturday; she said she was not in favor of extending hours on Sunday.

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