Lava Cantina owner Ian Vaughn and Kings Ridge neighbors were commended by City of Plano deputy city manager Mark Israelson during the May 11 HOA board meeting for professionally working together to create a win-win situation amid recent noise complaints from the new Colony business. Neighbors from five nearby homeowner associations in Plano and Carrollton began expressing concerns about the venue May 3 when stage music was heard inside homes as far as 3.5 miles away.

Israelson, Plano environmental services director Rachel Patterson, The Colony Police Chief David Coulon and Lt. Mike Fox, Plano assistant police chief Dan Curtis, Plano PD neighborhood resource officer Richard Glenn and two other Plano officers joined Mr. Vaughn and more than 50 neighbors to hear the Lava Cantina noise abatement action plan, ask questions and talk about how lessons from Lava Cantina could help future Grandscape businesses.

Lava Cantina Response, Action Plan

Apologizing to neighbors and stressing his desire to work with community residents and leaders in an “empathetic way,” Lava Cantina’s Vaughn said that “being a responsible business partner” was very important to him, and that “decibels are not a problem, but music reaching your homes is an issue that needs to be resolved.”

Aware of reports of stage music being heard inside homes as far as 3.5 miles from the stage, Vaughn said “I can’t make [the music] go away completely, but hearing music inside homes is not acceptable.”

Vaughn outlined a series of short-term fixes and long-term solutions, some that could cost as much as $150,000 to implement. The short-term fixes include:

  • Working with a noise consultation company that specializes in reducing noise near oil and gas industry fracking projects often located near households. Various adjustments may happen based upon Vaugh’s work with this firm.
  • Having all national acts that play on the stage end performances at 10 p.m.
  • Temporarily adjusting local act concert start and end times for bands, including ending weekday concerts at 10 p.m. and weekend concerts at 11 p.m. unless he learns that the sound buffering efforts are working well. Since The Colony approved planned development allows for stage music to be played until midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends, Vaughn could resume those originally planned hours if nearby neighborhoods are not hearing stage music.
  • Installing acoustic panels and pipe and draping along the southern part of the venue to buffer noise.
  • Placing carpets from Grandscape developer, Nebraska Furniture Mart, on the outdoor stage to absorb stage sound.
  • Removing certain sub woofers and relocating other outdoor speakers on/near the stage to reduce the sound volume.
  • Installing temporary storage units in the southern parking lot near the outdoor stage to buffer noise.

The long-term action items include:

  • Permanent carpeting of the outdoor stage.
  • Investigating the use of outdoor carpet on the venue’s patio.
  • Acoustical insulation in the roof of the outdoor stage and lower patio area.
  • Acoustical analysis to present best options.
  • Pending results of acoustical sound tests, a sound barrier wall could be added as a side perimeter.

Since the short-term plans went into effect, significant improvement has been achieved. Only four Kings Ridge neighbors reported hearing stage music at their residence on Friday, May 12 as compared to more than 40 reports called into The Colony Police non-emergency dispatch center on Thursday, May 4.

Streamlining Neighbor Questions and Concerns

HOA board president Glenn Barlow and former board VP and current communications chair Bill Kula have been in steady contact with Vaughn since the stage music was first heard, keeping the North Texas resident apprised of noise reports received from neighbors. They have repeatedly stressed that the HOA wants Lava Cantina and other businesses in Grandscape to succeed, but not at the expense of lowering the quality of life of Kings Ridge and other nearby residential neighbors.

To streamline Kings Ridge neighbor comments about Grandscape, a web-based email tool is being created that will allow neighbors to submit comments, questions or complaints that can be shared daily with Lava Cantina, The Colony and City of Plano officials. (More details to come on the information tool to be housed within the HOA’s website, www.kingsridgehoa.net).

Roles of Cities, Neighbors Concerns About Noise

City of Plano officials have had meetings with The Colony officials, and both city’s police departments spoke about their collaborative work to provide support for the unique situation that involves a business in one city, but impacting neighbors in adjoining cities.

By law, no business in the Grandscape development can emit noise levels above 95 decibels beyond 330 feet. HOA and Colony officials confirmed that the noise ordinance linked to the planned development involving Lava Cantina was approved by The Colony City Council with the support of city manager Troy Powell and the Planning & Zoning Commission in 2015 despite the protest of Kings Ridge HOA leaders who spoke at a public meeting about the anticipated noise to be expected.

While no reports in excess of what’s legally allowed have been reported by police or Plano environmental service department staff, neighbors stressed concern for hearing a steady frequency of stage music travel along the v-shaped valley between Kings Ridge and Grandscape into their yards, and inside some of their homes well over 6,500 feet from the stage near the southern border of the neighborhood.

Neighbors said when the sound was its loudest, young children complained of the noise trying to go to bed; students had trouble studying; and adults had difficulty concentrating due to the steady sounds of bass, drums, guitar and lyrics. Homes in Carrollton’s Austin Waters community that heard stage music May 3 and 4 are located more than 15,000 feet from the Lava Cantina stage.

Next Steps: Truck Yard Discussions

While progress continues to be made in terms of reducing the noise volumes stemming from Lava Cantina, neighbors talked in a neighbor-only second half of the meeting about outreach already made to officials with a future Grandscape development called the Truck Yard to be located within 750 feet of some Kings Ridge homes.

The HOA has asked Truck Yard officials to consider some of the sound abatement solutions being implemented by Lava Cantina, including sound engineering and testing as part of the construction process to halt a potential problem before it occurs.

The outreach, awaiting a response as of May 15, calls for Truck Yard officials to meet with neighbors and city staff to leverage lessons learned from Lava Cantina as the Truck Yard is built for an opening in late 2017.

Next Steps: May 16 Colony City Council Meeting

As a follow-up to a thank you note for participating in the May 11 HOA meeting, and recognition of The Colony city manager saying “it’s important for us to find a resolution quickly,” the city manager welcomed an HOA official to speak at its May 16 City Council meeting during the public forum.

Kula will speak to the City Council about the HOA’s request of The Colony in working with other Grandscape tenants to achieve a win-win solution that helps the multi-use (residential and retail) development succeed and for Kings Ridge to remain a great place to live, work, learn and play. Other neighbors are welcome to speak during the public session and/or attend to keep apprised of the discussion between the HOA and The Colony.

There is no specific item on the City Council agenda about the recent Lava Cantina noise complaints, so neighbors are advised that participation in the May 16 meeting is merely part of the HOA’s ongoing effort to engage professionally with The Colony leaders given their oversight of developers and businesses in their city.

Many neighbors have offered to provide help in a variety of ways with the Grandscape development projects. As an extension of the May 11 HOA board meeting, neighbors who would like to participate in a sub-committee focused on Grandscape activity and its impact on Kings Ridge, are invited to reach Bill Kula at billkula21@gmail.com.

Recent News Stories, #LavaNoise Twitter Activity

May 7 NBC 5 story: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Plano-Neighbors-Frustrated-With-New-Music-Venue-421538183.html

May 5 CBS 11 story: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2017/05/05/the-colonys-lava-cantina-cranks-music-to-some-a-nuisance-to-others/

Follow the Kings Ridge HOA on Twitter (@KingsRidgeHOA) and join the discussion using #LavaNoise in posts.

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