Hope has arrived amidst the wreckage of San Francisco music venues that are going, going or gone because of noise complaints, gentrification, nerdification or all of these. SF Supervisors London Breed and Scott Wiener, with support from the Entertainment Commission (soldiers on the front line of SF’s club wars), are promoting legislation that would require developers to shoulder more responsibility for projects close to places of entertainment, known as POEs in governmentese.
As it stands today, the condos go up, the complaints follow and the burden falls on the venue to spend six figures on sound abatement, as took place at Slim’s; shut down, as Club Cocomo has done; or get out while the getting is good as Cafe du Nord has done. The burden of their continued existence as San Francisco morphs falls entirely on the POEs, which is why they continue to fall.
The new proposals would require developers to vet their projects near POEs with the Entertainment Commission, place more responsibility for sound attenuation on the development itself, and require disclosures specific to being a POE’s neighbor prior to moving in. This last point is critical because the right of occupants to complain about the inconveniences of a POE after they’ve committed to living next to one is, as we have seen, a death sentence for the venue.