City to club: Shhh!

Rancho Mirage residents cross 111 to complain

K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
December 11, 2005 December 11, 2005 December 11, 2005

Palm Desert is clamping down on the South Beach Restaurant and Night Club, with a list of restrictions to curb late-night noise at the popular dance spot.

The announcement of the new restrictions followed a second round of complaints from Rancho Mirage residents who say they are being kept up by noise from the club at 72-191 Highway 111. The residents had first complained about the club's bass-driven music at the Palm Desert City Council's Nov. 10 meeting, and they were back, and just as upset, at the council meeting Thursday.

"We need help desperately," said Ted Lemerond, who lives on Barbara Drive, across Highway 111 - and the Palm Desert city line - from the Miami-themed club.

Lemerond and two other residents complained about noise from music and people on the club's patio, as well as graffiti and tire marks on streets and lawns in the club area.

"I'm not against people having fun," said Robert Smith, another Barbara Drive resident. But "noise (from) the open air patio directly disrupts my family's sleep."

City Manager Carlos Ortega reported to the City Council that the club is licensed as a restaurant, but will have to get a new permit as a night club. And the city will include conditions in the permit to ensure lower noise levels and less disruption to the club's neighbors.

The city also is rewriting its noise ordinance to set new standards for bass-driven music, said Philip Drell, the city's head of community development. The rewrite should be ready to go to the Planning Commission and then the City Council in January, he said.

On the club's side, owner Brad Hughes said, "We're still working with the city and being cooperative and trying to be proactive. We're a business and we intend to operate as a business."

Following the first complaints from the Rancho Mirage residents, the city ordered a new noise study and ordered the club to turn down the bass-tones in its music.


The permit process will take about six weeks, said Philip Drell, the city's director of community development. In the meantime, officials are negotiating an interim agreement with the club to allow it to stay open until the new permit is issued.

"We've figured out a way to measure and therefore regulate the subbass (music)," Drell said.

City officials also are talking with club owners about ways to cut noise from the patio, which the club uses as a smoking area.

The patio remains a point of contention with Hughes.

"I find it very difficult to believe that people conversing are going to be louder than a six-lane highway," he said.

A final agreement between the city and club owners is expected Monday, Drell said.

Ortega said the city's main concern is maintaining a good business environment for everyone involved.

"Unfortunately, success brings with it problems," he said, referring to the club's popularity. "(Balancing) the needs of residents with needs of the business community is always a challenge."