SAN DIEGO — Some homeowners living in complexes near Gallagher Square are speaking out after loud concerts held at Gallagher Square have become unbearable to live near and has led to some people moving.
Some of the homeowners in nearby condos have formed a group called Residents Concerned About Gallagher Square Noise, to address what they believe is unreasonable sound stemming from concerts held at Gallagher Square. The group has collected 79 statements from nearly 100 residents who feel adversely impacted by the concerts.
The residents said they are not against the San Diego Padres or Petco Park, but are against the loud noise from concerts at Gallagher Square outside Petco Park and want the noise to a lower decibel level.
“We enjoy baseball games, we enjoy crowd noise during the games, we enjoy the live concerts that happen inside the stadium, so with activities historically happen inside the baseball stadium, we’ve had no problems with, our concerns are with Gallagher Square and the concerts that are being held that push the noise directly into the neighborhood,” said Joseph Simms, who moved into the East Village before the ballpark opened.
Simms said he knew the noise that would come from the ballpark would be loud, but the noise from concerts at Gallagher Square bring it to another level.
“We love Padres baseball, we love events inside the stadium, our concern has nothing to do with Padres baseball,” Simms said.
According to residents, large concerts held inside Petco Park and San Diego Padres games are not as loud as the sounds from concerts at Gallagher Square. Simms said speakers inside Petco Park face south toward the bay, so the noise is much lower, compared to concerts at Gallagher Square, where speakers face the condos.
“I woke up to my walls shaking, music blaring,” said David Bergsma, who has lived in Diamond Terrace since 2019.
FOX 5 talked with several residents who live in nearby complexes, who also shared videos of what they see and hear from their homes. Videos show flashing lights and large crowds.
Simms said when a sold-out concert is playing inside Petco Park, it is not as loud as the concerts in Gallagher Square.
“This is beyond egregious, its appalling, its unconscionable and it’s time for it to stop,” Bergsma added. “I’ve literally had art work fall off my walls.”
Bergsma said he’s had to board his dog Kennedy during some of the events because it’s too loud for her to handle. He recorded a video during a concert that shows a noise level reader on his phone where sound is reaching more than 100 dBA.
“Being subjected to these 8 plus hours of loud obnoxious concerts for days on ends sometimes I mean even on a Wednesday, I’ve been unable to work, watch TV, read, its been a nightmare,” Bergsma said.
Residents had an outside company complete a noise study that measured the noise levels on a nearby condo’s balcony during a concert. According to that report, shared with us by the residents, the sound reached 80.4 DBA.
According to RNS Acoustics study, provided by the residents to FOX 5, they completed an outside study from 2:00 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 to 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 in two different units that have a view of the Sycuan Stage. On Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, an Electronic Dance Music Concert was held until 10 p.m.
According to RNS acoustics findings, the sound level from one balcony ranged from 69-80 db and increased to 80.4 dba between 9-10 p.m. After the concert ended, background noise levels were measured between 54-61 dBA.
The residents believe the sound decibels emitted from concerts are exceeding the city code, but the Padres disagree.
A representative from the Padres said in a statement to FOX 5 Tuesday, “The Padres are in full compliance with noise regulations during ballgames and concerts at Gallagher Square.”
FOX 5 asked if the Padres measure the sound levels from Gallagher Square, or only from the soundboard. A representative from the organization said in a statement, “The Padres adhere to the strict mitigation measures outlined in the Ballpark’s EIR and acoustical study. Specifically, sound levels at for all concerts, including the ones in Gallagher Square, are limited to 95 DBA at the soundboard.”
The group of homeowners said Petco Park’s EIR (Environmental Impact Study) was completed prior to the stadium’s opening and before concerts held in Gallagher Square. The residents therefore believe the 95 DBA allowance is outdated, and the city’s noise ordinance code should apply to sound from Gallagher Square, and not the same noise level allowance that is allowed inside Petco Park, which use different speakers and speakers facing a different direction.
According to city code, under Chapter 5, Article 9.5, which addresses noise ordinances, the limit is 65 decibels between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. For hours outside that time frame, 7:01 p.m. to 6:59 p.m., the limit, according to this code, is 55 decibels.
“As a voter and a taxpayer and resident of downtown I would hope that mayor Gloria and councilmember Whitburn are listening to us,” Simms said.
The residents shared a letter they sent to Mayor Todd Gloria and Councilmember Stephen Whitburn on March 1, 2023, which reads in part, “We want to be clear: we are not asking to stop concerts from occurring in Gallagher Square, but we are entreating the City to enforce the obligations that were legally imposed upon the Padres by the City as noise mitigation related to the approval of the Ballpark Project …”
With the recent announcement from the Padres of a $20 million makeover to Gallagher Square, residents tell me they are hopeful the sound mitigation measures addressed will be beneficial to them. However, they wish the issue would be addressed now instead of waiting for the redevelopment, which is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2024 season.
“I want to thank the neighbors who voiced their concerns and the Padres for responding to these concerns with the implementation of directional speakers and other sound-mitigating technology,” Whitburn said in a statement to FOX 5 Tuesday. “The renovation of Gallagher Square will serve as a catalyst, revitalizing and energizing the East Village area. I am looking forward to collaborating with both the Padres Organization and community members on this exciting project.”
“The Padres are excited to have announced a complete renovation of Gallagher Square, based on community and fan input. The project, which includes several new and exciting amenities, is planned to open in time for the 2024 season. The site is, and will continue to be, managed in full compliance with all City rules,” the Padres said in a statement in response to FOX 5’s inquiry about noise levels during concerts at Gallagher Square.
Residents are also concerned with the future renovations. The group is hoping the city will require another environmental review for the redevelopment of Gallagher Square, which would discuss noise levels. However, “The Padres believe the renovation of Gallagher Square is a ministerial decision. The onsite uses today are the same ones as those proposed in the renovation. Additionally, the project is covered under the original ballpark EIR,” the organization said in a statement to FOX 5 Tuesday.