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Downtown San Diego residents want the city to pull the plug on Padres concerts

A group of residents filed a lawsuit to stop concerts in Gallagher Square.

SAN DIEGO — A group of East Village residents are suing the city of San Diego and the San Diego Padres for having concerts at Gallagher Square outside of Petco Park.

The group, calling itself "Residents Concerned About Gallagher Square Noise," filed a non-conformed Writ of Mandate with the court on September 13 alleging the concerts violate the city's Municipal Code for noise levels and are not a permitted use.

According to the lawsuit, from July 1 to the time of the filing, the Padres booked ten concerts at Gallagher Square, with each show lasting past 10:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. at night.

Noise levels during the shows, says the lawsuit,  range anywhere from 80 decibels to as high as 105 decibels, far exceeding the 50-65 decibel range allowed in commercial and resident zones.

The lawsuit states that the city has refused to take action against the Padres for the violations.

To make matters worse, the group's lawsuit claims that the city's permit never considered noise impacts from Gallagher Square on nearby residences and businesses.

Reads the lawsuit, "With respect to concert noise impacts the Noise Impact Analysis only considers the impacts of concerts performed inside the Ballpark itself, not in Gallagher Square, and bases its conclusions on the assumption that concerts inside the Ballpark, with speakers oriented south and directed in the opposite direction of residences, would typically reach noise levels of 95 dB at the sound mixing board located approximately 100 feet from the stage to the south, 60 dB just outside the Ballpark, and 55 dB at the nearest residences."

But noise is not the only complaint from residents.

Residents also say light shows during the concerts flash into their homes.

"Lights at Gallagher Square concerts, whether constant or flashing, consistently violate the [San Diego Municipal Code] by directly illuminating nearby residences including Diamond Terrace Condominiums, The Legend Condominiums, Parkloft Condominiums, and The Mark Condominiums," claims the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that other popular music venues such as the Rady Shell and Waterfront Park do a better job mitigating any noise or light impacts and provide a noise complaint hotline for residents to voice any issues.

A spokesperson for the Padres says the club has worked to make Petco more than just a ballpark. 

"Since its inaugural season in 2004, Petco Park has lived up to its promise of being 'more than a ballpark,'" said Vice President of Communications for the Padres, Craig Hughner.  

"In the last 19 years, the Padres have hosted thousands of baseball games, concerts and other events, welcoming tens of millions of fans and serving as an economic engine for downtown San Diego and the region.  The potential impact of Petco Park as an entertainment venue on the still-developing East Village neighborhood was extensively studied prior to the ballpark's construction, and numerous conditions were imposed on the operation of the ballpark, including Gallagher Square.  The Padres comply with and take these conditions seriously while working hard to be a good neighbor and community member."

The city of San Diego declined to comment on the permitting issues due to not commenting on pending litigation. 

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