XI. NOISE — Would the project result in:
a) Exposure of persons to or generation of noise levels in excess of standards established in the local general plan or noise ordinance, or applicable standards of other agencies?
b) Exposure of persons to or generation of excessive groundborne vibration or groundborne noise levels?
c) A substantial permanent increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project?
d) A substantial temporary or periodic increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project?
- Noise levels contemplated by the Planning Commission exceed those permitted for areas adjacent to freeways in Los Angeles.
- Residents of Carmel Highlands experienced these noise levels from an illegal rental at 101 Lower Walden over a two year period. Over 17 neighbors were impacted, causing many sleepless nights, and many dozens of complaints failed to fix the situation. I personally measured the noise levels with a dB meter. The owner’s agents and designated representatives failed completely to control the situation, and ultimately it was clear they were there to protect their clients, not to make things right for the neighborhood. On the evening of one Short Term Rental I measured at approximately 11 p.m. and noted that “the sound levels at the back door of my house and they peaked at 89 db, average 68, low 51. About 4 minutes ago. Inside my house they peak at 81db.”
- Short Term Renters have a track record, including those at 101 Lower Walden, of trespassing on neighboring properties, parking dangerously on the road or trespassing their cars on neighboring properties, and a host of other problems inconsistent with the quiet enjoyment of our own homes.
- The Enforcement program contemplated by the Committee depends upon Short Term Rental owners to enforce noise standards, but gives them tremendous leeway, allowing violation after violation of our neighborhood’s rights to the quiet enjoyment of our homes. Short Term Rental owners have proven particularly reluctant to enforce noise restrictions and trespassing. And now the Coastal Commission is asking the neighbors to trust the same people who have been illegally renting and openly violating the law by failing to control their guests. Under the option considered by the Committee, owners who rent out parts of their houses only have to use their best efforts , at best a weak requirement. The County has to find two violations before any ramification occurs – a lengthy and bureaucratic process, and even then there was no explicit authority to shut them down. “Sandra Sagert, who heads Anaheim’s code enforcement unit, said noise complaints and other problems have grown with the surge of short-term rentals in the city.”[i] What if the owner can’t or won’t control their guests, and what if the County can’t or won’t revoke any licenses and shut them down?