The Chapel Already Getting Grief From Neighbors

We’ve given Valencia a lot of shit over the last couple years.  Most recently, we’ve referred to it as “San Francisco’s premier boulevard of bullshit” amidst a “turbocharged tailspin into terrible.”  Perhaps this isn’t totally fair.  Take The Chapel: it’s nothing short of a neighborhood treasure—they consistently book solid acts across a range of genres, the prices aren’t ridiculous for a club, and the venue itself is solid.

However, Curbed reports that neighbors aren’t as stoked with the venue as we are:

Since the beginning of business operations, staff has received emails from neighbors with concerns about excessive noise and deliveries coming late at night. If the Planning Commission decides that they’re not in compliance, they can request that this project be scheduled for a public hearing again to modify the conditions or to revoke the approvals.

A Planning Commission memo states there are a “spectrum of issues” and that “noise complaints from neighbors indicate that there is excessive noise originating from a variety of sources including patron noise, amplified music, idling vehicle noise, and noise from employees on breaks.”

For a venue that’s been open for less than a year and a half, this certainly isn’t a good start.  And with a preliminary hearing scheduled for tomorrow, let’s hope they can figure this out before it goes any further.


Comments (40)

As their neighbor, I am 100% satisfied with them. I’m actually surprised that it’s as quiet as it is.


I would implore you to voice that opinion at a hearing. It’s rather important

Agreed. If this does happen, I’m commissioning some high school marching bands and showing your neighbors what noise is. Sorry.

jeebus christ, people, this is why we can’t have nice things.  Ugh. 

The Chapel is fucking awesome.

In a three year span all of the following opened within a block of my old place on 19th btw mission & valencia: Hog&Rocks, Radish, Hi-Lo BBQ, Tacolicious/Mosto, Mission Chinese Food, Mission St Oyster Bar, Dr. Teeth, Chapel.   That was a crazy quick transformation from what has been Sureno territory to hipster/yuppie territory. I favored the change, but I imagine some of the long time residents trapped in rent controlled apartments may have been less than pleased.

As the memo outlines, this is less an objection of rent controlled tenants, and more of the collective owners of the condos at 150 Lexington (some of which have been there less than a year, according to property records).

Ha, maybe we need a ballot initiative to define acceptable noise as being higher than it currently is.  The problem with living in the most expensive city in the country is that the only people that can move here are extremely wealthy people.  Places that used to operate with impunity, sound wise, now have to deal with wealthy people that can push their weight around city hall much harder than previous groups. 

This situation is actually really serious.  It’s weird going to other cities like Brooklyn that have tons of music venues with people milling about outside drinking and smoking, patios open all night.  9:30 club in DC is a good example of that, has a bar outside the music venue that stays open till 3, with houses pretty close to it, and also has an underground bar beow the music venue.  People from both gather on 9th street.

Is our city just becoming a city of pussies?  I’ve lived close to music venues or bars that have loud music, live music, or DJs

Those buildings near the 9:30 are pretty new. I wonder if they’re not hearing complaints as well. And real talk - gentrification is probably coming for that place too.

The real issue I think is that SF’s policy of hearing everyone out no matter how ludicrious your claim.

Good research, Kevin - you are right - looks like it was the condo-owners @ 150 Lex leading the charge.   Kind of fun to read the escalating email exchange at the end of the memo.  The neighbors start off quite civil and friendly, and get steadily more and more irritated by the manager.  

I don’t think its quite fair to characterize these folks as “moving to the nuisance”, since 2 of the 3 condo owners lived there before Chapel arrived (and did most of the other surveyed neighbors who get mentioned).  At least in the initial emails, the neighbors are trying to throw out constructive ideas, not trying to get the place shutdown.  

Hahaha, you think immigrants complain to the authorities regarding noise complaints. I’ll speak for myself, and several friends: it ain’t us passively writing emails to city supervisors.

Fuck this bar. I live across the street in and didn’t pay $1.5 million to have loud rock music and drunks right outside my window every night. It almost makes me wish I stayed in Palo Alto.

Your strawtechie act doesn’t quite work here, since most of the twentysomething engineers who pay $1.5 million for a condo in the Mission do so specifically _to_ have loud music and drunks around.



Sell your place and buy something around Lake Merced. You’ll have easier access to 280S AND Stonestown Mall.

You sound a bit trollish…but nevertheless…fuck you.

We wish you had too. 

Reading the Planning Commission memo, it doesn’t sound like there’s much to worry about. There’s apparently been only one music noise complaint, back in August. And the noise study seems to have been passed with flying colors. I love the place - I’ve been fortunate enough to see Elvis Costello, Dean Wareham, Foxygen, and others there, all within crawling distance of home. I hope the Planning Commission isn’t too responsive to the squeaky wheels.

I guaranteeeee it - the complainers are effete, white, NIMBY-whiners that look like Moby 10 years ago. Hate em - hate em all. WHEN YOU LIVE IN A CITY - THERE IS NOISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As their neighbor, I am 100% satisfied with them and the cultural value they bring to the neighborhood.

The same thing happened on 11th St. during the first wave, the realestate people show the property during the daytime when the bars/clubs are closed and things are relatively quite. These people do no research before they buy to check noise levels, crime rates ect.

Why would I do research before buying a home for 1.5mil? It’s not that much money.

Yep Slim’s can’t go above (I forgot) db according to the sound guy due to a noise-nimby in a condo OVER A BLOCK AWAY. I might have gone to see WITTR there, but probably will go to a different venue/town on their upcoming tour.

I’ve been debating going to Red Fang there, given the noise restrictions, but have been assured by someone who saw them there that it was great nonetheless.

Red Fang * Black Tusk * White Flag * Orange Goblin * Red C * Green Day -oops

Yeah - they built condos in the same brick building as Slimes. I think there’s a burrito shop in the lower corner of it. That’s when all the complaints started happening. A lot of the venues there were forced to pay for more advanced sound proofing and they still got complaints. I understand that you get shown a place during the day and it’s not as noisy, but seriously, how stupid do you have to be to move right near a music venue and not think it’s gonna get noisy (and crowded and smokey) at night and stay that way til around 3am?

i saw them there too \m/

But why read those pesky disclosure packets your agent e-mails you when you’re busy stuffing bags full of cash to the tune of 40% over asking? 

The Chapel is super cool, and one of the better additions to the neighborhood. What is wrong with San Francisco? Does everything have to be clean, and polished, with shaved sides and a pompadour on top? Ugh. 

interesting North Brooklyn, specifically Williamsburg, It was the night clubs and bars that heralded the arrival of gentrification and the migration in of yuppies. Clubs do not keep them  away, and in fact they attract them. Nightlife attracts development.  eventually you will all have to go except for those earning over 300,000 dollars a year.

In this case, it isn’t really about gentrification. The Chapel didn’t bother to pay for sufficient soundproofing along its back wall. One of my friends lives  on 19th Street — and his bedroom windows face the back of The Chapel. The pounding noise from the bass during concerts is so loud as to prevent folks from going to sleep — and it sometimes goes on until after 1:00 a.m. My friend is not some entitled rich kid — just an ordinary San Franciscan who works for a hospital and has been in the same rent controlled apartment since 1988. Many of his neighbors are immigrant families whose first language is Spanish and who are likely to find the process of filing a complaint unfamiliar or daunting — but who are nonetheless being kept awake by the noise from The Chapel.

Sounds fair to me . Tell the F’n Chapel to fix it and let them keep having bands. Settled.

Why, then, does the noise study say that the sound is within City-mandated permitted limits? I honestly don’t get it. I interpret the study as an objective measurement. If we go by individual assertions of “it’s too loud,” I’d want more than a few anecdotes before I trashed the study’s results. Is it that the study was done at the wrong time? I don’t want anyone to be made too uncomfortable by surrounding noise, but I’m getting mixed signals. The PD memo indicates there has been *one* music noise complaint - 10 months ago. You say people find the process daunting (which is, by the way, a convenient way of saying “oh, yeah, *everybody’s* upset,” without evidence), but certainly your friend the hospital employee is capable of complaining.

Reading the complaint emails (just a few, admittedly), it sounds like the problem is Recology and its trash pickup noise - which really isn’t The Chapel’s problem, and which thousands of people all over the city deal with every day (or early, early morning).I can’t think of a lot of incentives to complain illegitimately (absent some sort of mental illness, as the Slim’s Complainer seems to have), but there is data here that refutes the complaints.

Intended to be a reply to Gerard Koskovich.

Fuck this bar. I live across the street in and didn’t pay $1.5 million to have loud rock music and drunks right outside my window every night. It almost makes me wish I stayed in Palo Alto.”

Wow, Please do! Your the idiot that moved onto Valencia, currently one of the most trendy streets in the country… and I don’t car how much you payed to live here. I’m sure you can get a nice, quiet and cheaper place in Palo Alto.

that was obviously a troll comment, geez. you guys are way too happy to play into the evil techie stereotype. 

ha. ridiculous

Grizzled Mission: It’s pretty simple. The city isn’t actually reporting all the complaints — including the complaint my friend filed. And the city inspectors aren’t coming in to the apartments of people with windows facing the back wall of The Chapel and testing the sound at 1:00 a.m. In fact, my friend works in the field of environmental health and safety and has tested the decibel levels in his apartment; the sound from from The Chapel is often well beyond the legal limit.

“The city isn’t actually reporting all the complaints — including the complaint my friend filed.”

So the city that has used, and continues to use, its entertainment commission as an extortion racket to shut down venues left and right is now perpetrating an active conspiracy to protect this one venue against numerous hidden/burried/destroyed complaints? Do go on.

<grabs popcorn>