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No Running, Diving, Twerking – Lafayette Neighbors Object To Noise From Leland Drive Swim Club

Photo: File

Swimming is a way of life for many in the 24/680. Passions run high and the ranks form quickly whenever someone challenges the operation of a popular local swim team – and that’s what’s happening as neighborhood battle lines form over noise and traffic issues at the Sun Valley Swimming Pool Association HQ at 1000 Leland Drive in Lafayette.

The club, across the street from Meher School, boasts a membership of 230 and dates back before the city was incorporated and county zoning regulations established. It began incurring the wrath of neighbors when it introduced amplified music on meet days – and drawing more traffic and trash into the neighborhood – something the neighbors contend has increased steadily in recent years.

Most neighbors say they have no problem with the club when it operates within the limits of its intended purpose – swimming – but they bitterly point out that their requests for quiet and cleanliness have often been met with resistance by club members and organizers.

“Neighbors do not wish to be lectured to ‘just deal with it’ or ‘buy earplugs’ by the members of the pool,” neighbor Robert Schick wrote in a letter to the planning commission Oct. 3. “This is not an issue about young versus old and the characterization of the immediate neighbors of the pool as oldsters who don’t like music is a caricature that is quite unfair and inflammatory…”

In fact, neighbors say, they have been sandbagged by a club that has slowly ratcheted up its membership and accompanying noise levels over time, with Sun Valley updating its bylaws to increase membership from 195 to 230 in 2013 – a move city officials say they were unaware of until after it happened.

City officials began to look into things when neighbor complaints about amplified music reached a peak – finding that the music violated the noise ordinance and that the club was no longer a legal nonconforming use. Club officials applied for a Land Use Permit in March 2015 in an effort to resolve the matter, with the matter continued to the planning commission’s Dec. 5 meeting for hopeful resolution.

In its application to the commission, the pool association is asking for a Land Use Permit authorizing the club to operate with a maximum of 230 family memberships, year-round operation between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., a maximum of 10 swim meets for its team each year, a maximum of five special events per year, and use of their amplified sound system for swim meets and one special event each year.

The proposal was substantially pared back from the club’s original premise of operation from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and 12 special events per year. It remains to be seen if the concessions are enough to appease their neighbors.


  1. Interesting question but I would have to say that if a caring and quiet neighbor gradually started inviting more people to their house and turning up the music at all hours then they’ve become a nuisance and subject to correction. It seems clear to me at least that they’re going to have to dial it back.

  2. Swimming is very much a part of the culture of this area but that does not mean that swimmers and swim clubs can determine how things are going to work in their neighborhoods or say how loud they can play their music and when. They have to consider their neighbors rights as well.

    • Morning, Nicole… there’s nothing in the written communications from neighbors that cites problems with a specific type of music, it’s mostly problems with decibel levels from what we can discern. Neighbors at other venues (schools, swim clubs, sports fields) have mentioned a trending toward bass heavy musical selections wildly popular with kids and perhaps less so by those over 25 or so. They say that type of music tends to thud into nearby homes, shaking windows, etc.

  3. I’m all for neighbors rights too, but sometimes you have to think outside of the box. If ANY noise from a swim club will bother you, don’t buy a house near a swim club. Anyone who’s ever attended a swim meet knows that swim meets are loud.

    It’s not any different than buying a house next to a high school, and then complaining about Friday night football games. Those are loud too.

    • Morning, Danielle… perfectly logical and rational, BUT as one neighbor writes: “In the past 10 years the SVST pool has changed from a small local community pool used by neighbors who walked to swim into a pool centered around the swim team… This is OK… What is not OK is the failure of the pool management to be respectful and responsive to the smaller subset of community members who live in close proximity to the pool. This failure is an old issue dating 10 years and with recent significant worsening in recent 4 years. This failure is the genesis of the current controversy that mainly centers around a very small number of longtime residents… and the proponents of pool expansion in membership, hours of operation, noise, meets, and special events.”

      We’ve seen this very same dynamic in play elsewhere ourselves, with “pioneering” families suddenly finding themselves overridden by “newcomers” and their desire for bigger, better, louder. That seems to be the crux of it.

  4. Maybe all that chlorine erodes common sense but it would seem to me that turning the music up in an area tightly surrounded by homes would lead to issues with the neighbors. It’s hard to believe people didn’t see this coming.

  5. Morning News24/680… I’m real cut and dry when it comes to “noise levels.” Anytime you move next to a freeway, school, swim club or any other “establishment” that might have a higher noise level, you have two choices. Accept the fact that it will get noisy, or find another place to live.

    It reminds me of the first house my husband and I lived in, while saving to buy our own home. The rent was “below market” because we lived close to a freeway. We accepted the “lesser rent” as young married couple, and the noise didn’t bother us. We were hardly ever home. I wouldn’t move there today.

  6. Interesting case study. It’s sort of like the old move next to the airport argument – you move next to an airport you’ve got to expect a certain amount of noise. But what if over the years the little airport invites the Blue Angels in every weekend, something they never did before? Exactly what level of noise or air traffic is grandfathered in? Are there no limits to noise and air traffic and are the alternatives for those nearby only to live with it or to move?

  7. I’m going to step in here and offer my considerable expertise and diplomatic skills and do a little problem solving. First, the swim team needs to turn down the music. Second, they should hold a minimum amount of swim meets with accompanying music. Third, they should invite the neighbors to those meets, give them a hotdog, and make them feel at home and part of the activity. Then they should clean up after themselves. That should do it. No charge for the advice.

  8. We live very near, and are members of, a community (but very team-oriented) pool, and while not within earshot, it’s the vehicular traffic that is of greatest concern. Despite multiple attempts from numerous neighbors, outreach to pool management, notes left on windshields, direct and friendly confrontation, and even patrols, citations and announcements made by the police; pool-goers simply don’t seem to give a hoot about our neighborhood.

    I boggles the mind, really — these are all families, who probably don’t like people speeding through their neighborhood, filled with families just like ours, and yet…

    Somewhat surprising, it’s generally the moms clocking the highest speeds, with dads coming in second, followed by teenagers.

    My opinion remains that it’s all about an inflated sense of entitlement.

    • Hmm. Yes. We’ve gotten quite a number of similar offline comments, GF, with neighbors unwilling to offend or to call anyone out. Our feeling is you’re not going to be able to solve an issue unless you’re willing to talk about it openly. Thanks for writing.

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