Home Letter To The Editor LETTER: Lafayette City Planner Threatening Changes That Will Jeopardize Lafayette Summer Rec...

LETTER: Lafayette City Planner Threatening Changes That Will Jeopardize Lafayette Summer Rec Swimming


Dear Editor:
An issue of importance to the Lafayette rec. league swimming community, and to Sun Valley Swim Team in particular, will be on the agenda at a City meeting on Monday, October 3.

In 2014 a new neighbor moved in next door to Sun Valley Pool. She very quickly went to the City to complain about the noise and music during swim meets at SVP. Over the last few years SVP has made a good faith effort not to increase membership, not to play amplified music at meets, to be more mindful of overall noise for their neighbors and to work with the City to reach a mutually acceptable conclusion to the dispute. Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, they were forced to re-apply for a land use permit, which has left them in a precarious situation vis-a-vis the complaining neighbor.

Adam Foster, the Code Enforcement Officer/Assistant City Planner assigned to this matter, has made the following recommendations to the City’s Planning & Permits Committee, as relates to the SVP land use permit, which, if adopted, would present enormous challenges to the SVP swim team:

Require membership to be reduced to 1980s levels
– Eliminate amplified music
– Reduce swim practice to 2 hours a day
– Not allow swim practice to commence prior to 9:00am

Rec. league swimming has been a part of the fabric of this community for more than 50 years and adoption of these recommendations would be a terrible precedent, putting all of our Lafayette pools (which operate based upon land use permits) in jeopardy in the event that there is a complaint by even one neighbor.

The large number of privately owned pool clubs and swim teams in Lafayette have been in operation longer than almost any current resident, and certainly much longer than the complaining neighbor to Sun Valley. (Special interest moved in and decided they didn’t like living near a neighborhood pool club? Like moving next to a school and then complaining about traffic at pick up and drop off time?) Generations of Lafayette citizens have either enjoyed or at a minimum tolerated the traffic and noise of swim practices and meets in exchange for the great good they bring to the community.

Swimming teaches children an essential life safety skill, but the benefits go much deeper. Swimming, especially on a swim team such as Sun Valley, instills confidence, hard work, teamwork, and leadership into our children. These children develop lifelong friendships and many have parents and even grandparents who swam in these same recreational leagues.

The Lafayette pools strongly urge the City’s Planning & Permits Committee, not to adopt the recommendations made by Adam Foster.

Meeting Information Below
When: this Monday (10/3)
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: Lafayette Library (3491 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549).
Attendees will have 3 minutes to speak and go on record with input.

AND/OR Email Adam with your input
Adam Foster
Code Enforcement Officer/Assistant Planner


Rebecca Bearce/Lafayette


  1. While I don’t live in Lafayette I still wanted to chime in in support of the swim club. The fact that the house was next door to a swim club should have been factored into the price. If they are the only neighbor complaining then I don’t think the city should come up with a better compromise. Just my two cents.

  2. This reminds me of the time in my home town, when someone new to the area bought land, spent two+ years building a home, and then moved in. Not long after, they tried to shut the municipal airport down (which shared a property line), citing excessive noise. The tiny airport had been there since the 40’s, and the townspeople rose up en masse and shut the whole complaint down. The people eventually moved away, I heard (some might suggest they were “run out of town”). I’m hoping for the same outcome for SVP.

    Don’t buy property next to anything you might not like!

  3. We are a family of swimmers and while the kids are no longer at the level the author writes about here I have to say that there is another side to this – and I say that as a mom who attended HUNDREDS of swim meets and THOUSANDS of practices! I think it is a matter of tastes and technology changing…. the kids want upbeat popular music to swim and compete to and sound systems have evolved to the point where they can ripple the pool. I used to sit there and just think what the neighbors were hearing as my fellow swim moms and dads unleashed air horns, more loud music from personal sound system (I won’t even talk about smartphone use… every kid in Lamorinda probably has one and isn’t afraid to use it! That’s the way it is in our neighborhood (San Ramon). I think everyone should swim and have fun but things are changing and the culture is not always going to be fun for EVERYONE. And that’s a shame because it’s a great sport.

  4. It’s getting louder and noisier everywhere. Sorry. It just is. The schools and pools are contributing factors and yes, if you don’t like noise you shouldn’t live near either one.

  5. Watch for more of these. Not all of these cases involving someone moving into an area only to realize that the local swim club is up early and likes to party. In many cases neighbors who have lived next door to schools or clubs have been blasted by new or upgraded sound systems totally incompatible to life in a suburban neighborhood. I predict lawsuits and happy lawyers in our future.

  6. Some pools are better than others. In a lot of cases I sympathize with the neighbors because I know they’re suffering a long day or series of days. Maybe some more disclosure requirements should be in order so realtors can let prospective buyers know what they may be getting into? I would think some people would like the proximity to a pool, but I also understand how someone who just moves in and discovers how noisy it can get would feel.

  7. Music is not a necessity for a swim meet! My kids swim at Walnut Creek pools and I can’t recall any pool playing music during a meet. I would find it quite obnoxious even as a meet attendee, much less a neighbor. Our pool also closes at 8 p.m., not the 9 or 10 you guys are asking for.

    I think you guys are asking way too much; it’s no wonder your neighbors are irritated.

  8. My granddaughters belong to the Sun Valley swim team and have blossomed under instruction of the Sun Valley coaches. Swimming has fostered good health habits, cooperation, confidence and self esteem. I do not live in the area but have tried to attend as many of their meets as possible. I am amazed at the parent involvement and support of the swimmers and coaches. I don’t recall there being excessive noise – just lively support and encouragement. I find it rather surprising how an individual could purchase a home next to a swim club and not expect noise. The fact that there was a swim club next door should have been in the disclosure when the home was purchased. Anyway, I find it hard to believe that someone would not expect noisy periods throughout the day. The pool has been there for many years providing recreation, instruction and a healthy environment for families and friends to socialize. I certainly hope the “powers that be” look at the big picture and the greater good. The good of the community should come before a disgruntled individual. I look forward to attending many, many more swim meats in the future.

  9. If the suggestion I’m getting here is that homes near swimming or school sites are made less desirable because of possible noise then that needs to be recognized and disclosed at the time of purchase. Another problem has been the rising noise levels in some neighborhoods who had peacefully coexisted with these venues. There are several accounts of noise from local sporting events being heard in neighborhoods miles away from the venue. I don’t think people are going to want to live like that for long no matter how fun the sport may be.

  10. “Eat My Bubbles!” – still one of the all time great swim team slogans. Perhaps applicable to this situation. Maybe this could be resolved if both sides dial it down a little.

  11. I still swim despite advancing age and I still love it as much as the first time I got into a pool. To me it was always a solitary sport and quiet without a lot of outside influences. How did we get to this point? Seems to me all you need are swimmers, an air horn or starter pistol and people to cheer on race days. But now it’s music and announcers and other stuff and I wouldn’t want to listen to it if I lived nearby either. But I would still be in the pool.

  12. The neighbor should move. With so much going on in the world, this fun, innocent, family interactive sport is what we have time to complain about? Go volunteer during swim meet times if it is that horrible. I am sorry but you moved next to a swim club. We should be celebrating that it is a wholesome community event that brings people together. This is what happens when people have too much time on their hands. #firstworldproblems

  13. “Eat My Bubbles!” is a taunt, even if meant in good humor. That is contrary to “dialing it down a little”.

  14. I live literally within shouting distance of Las Trampas pool and have for nearly 30 years. I do not have children, have never been a member of a swim club, nor have I ever participated in competitive swimming. That said, I am entirely on the swim club’s side. During summer season I can clearly hear announcers calling the next race, the honk to start the race, and cheers of the crowd. Once in awhile there is music. To me those are happy summer sounds, almost small-town old fashioned sounds. The club is never noisy early enough to wake me nor late enough to keep me up. The restrictions as cited in the letter are too severe. A better compromise should be developed.

  15. I’m confused! Although I have no association with the pool or swim team or the neighbors, I don’t understand why these changes would endanger the swim team, as some have claimed, if the swim team has operated for years without these changes. If it because they want more income, charge the participants more.
    Having lived for many years down the street from discourteous neighbors who blared their music often as late as midnight, but constant after 5 pm (sometimes earlier), I can sympathize with the surrounding neighbors who don’t want their right to the quiet enjoyment of their property compromised.
    Yes, the pool was there first, but operating under conditions that they found acceptable at the time. Changing the relationship between the swim club and the neighbors was not what they anticipated.
    I still don’t understand why without the changes, some people feel that it would endanger the swim team if they have been operating under those conditions until now.

  16. My understanding is that the” grumpy neighbor” is both an attorney and a member of the swim club. If so, that would make this whole thing just sooooo Lamorinda

  17. To the person mentioning that home sales should include noise disclosures, the rumor floating around is that, in this case, the complaining neighbor’s purchase DID include noise disclosures, and that she is now trying to remove the source of noise and the disclosures in order to increase the value of her home.

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