Complaints and Noise Issues Addressed by Rec and Parks

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Bocce players were using headlamps and a cell phone flashlight to play after dark. That is forbidden. Now noise from the courts is being taken into consideration per state law.

At the January 19 Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners meeting, L.A. City Rec and Parks General Manager Jimmy Kim gave an update about noise issues generated by city parks.

Several months ago, Commissioner Joe Halper had asked the general manager to investigate possible noise violations, so that city parks comply with state noise law.

In the Pacific Palisades, the noise generated by the bocce court and the noise from a proposed pickleball court on tennis court #7 are being investigated.

At the meeting, Kim said that sound deadening materials are being proposed for the bocce courts and that at the next meeting, he would present more information.

A sound check had been done at Palisades tennis court #7, but “it was not acceptable,” Kim said, noting that Rec and Parks reached out to Building and Safety to do a new sound check, but was told “We don’t do these kinds of tests.” Kim then asked his staff to hire a sound consultant to perform the test.

He said that staff will be providing a verbal report on recommendations for pickleball and sound mitigation at the February meeting.

“I commend our general manager for staying on top of all of these issues,” Halper said.

Parks must follow the Noise Element of the Los Angeles City General Plan, which is state law. The City’s plan was adopted in 1975 and updated February 1999.

That  plan click here regulates use of recreation and parks department facilities, and that Park rangers and staff enforce regulations on sound amplification systems within parks.

According to that plan, Rec and Parks is required to design facilities, locate activities within park sites, enforce park use hours and have operational policies that minimize potential noise and activity impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.

In the appendix of that general plan, it notes the exact decibels that must be met. If the exterior sound level in a playground or a neighborhood park registers 65 to 80 (CNEL dB) it is considered unacceptable.

The city’s noise ordinance (LAMC Section 111 et seq.) establishes sound measurement and criteria, and its ambient noise standards are consistent with current state and federal noise standards.

In addition to the noise ordinance, Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 41 contains several disturbances of the peace provisions that are to be enforced by the police department.

These disturbances include noise from theaters, construction activities, devices used to emit music, miniature golf courses (including unduly loud talking) and “loud and raucous” noise.

California Penal Code Section 415 also authorizes local police departments to enforce noise relative to public nuisances, including intentional noise making.

According to the L.A. Noise Element plan, “Abatement of intrusive noise generally involves one or more of the following: reducing the noise at the source (turning down the volume), isolating the noise source by establishing buffer land uses (industrial uses around airports), blocking noise (walls, berms), or protecting the receiver (industrial ear protectors, home insulation).

Courts, in parks, near residences need to follow California noise standards.

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