Home Main Category Opinion Semi-Rural Noise: Moraga Maintains Its Previous Stance – And It’s Not Music...

Semi-Rural Noise: Moraga Maintains Its Previous Stance – And It’s Not Music To Everyone’s Ears


Along with dog parks and speed bumps and sink holes one of the most rancorous topics available for Moragans to sink their teeth into like a Rawhide Chew Bone from time to time has been – noise.

What noise, you might ask. Roosters and cows and the occasionally boisterous owl courting a love interest in yon distant tree? Moraga is a semi-rural environment, after all.

That’s true, and the town curries that idealistic vision of citizens living side-by-side with barnyard critters amidst rolling green hills and winding country roads. Looks good on the brochures.

But what they don’t tell you is that the town’s leaders are also fond of revenue, money they can use to pay for things they think the town needs, and sound systems and noise generate excitement and a sense that Moraga is a happening place. That’s fine unless you’ve invested your life savings in a home adjacent to one of these chosen venues.

The latest fight over noise levels is shaping up near the beloved old Hacienda de las Flores – bounded by neighbors living on Devin and Donald drives to the north and south and by Moraga Road to the east. In recent weeks neighbors have complained to the police and council about noise from weddings currently being held on site.

At a recent meeting of the Moraga council one member, after semi-apologizing to those affected for what he said were rogue deejays delivering music to their customers at the levels their customers had asked of them, said a lease agreement with a wedding organizer approved by the council that evening should prevent future decibel transgressions.

And then he said:

“We’re not going to stop having affairs at the Hacienda… we’re going to continue to have weddings and other functions and there is going to be music because we as a council have a fiscal duty and responsibility to look for ways to create revenue for this town…”

Making sure he was not misunderstood, the council member went on to say: “You have no reasonable expectation that it (noise) will be eliminated…”

Ooh. Okay. We guess it just remains to be seen how that goes down with the neighbors.

But past squabbles over noise have shown that the one or two townsfolk who dare speak out are usually told: “But it’s festive,” or “you’re the only one complaining” or “what did you expect, you moved in next to the airport – you should have known it was going to be noisy.”

It takes a while for the disgruntled few to realize they are actually one of many unhappy with 5 a.m. construction noise or endless repeat plays of “Happy!” There’s a lot of divide and conquer strategy to it, that last “airport” argument among the most galling for the simple reason that when we moved here the “airport” was an open field, and the generators, jets and other aircraft were moved in much, much later.

It’s not as bald-faced as the “you can always move” response a council member from a neighboring hamlet gave aggrieved citizens besieged by noise when they asked their local leaders what could be done to solve their problem, but, well – it almost is.


  1. Well, it’s all better than hearing the noises you hear in cities like Oakland , Antioch, Concord., Hayward etc.
    (ie: year ‘ round fireworks/ gunshots)

  2. People who complain about wedding noise are the same whiners that complain about airplane noise near an airport, children and traffic near a school, etc. Get over it. It’s just another excuse to complain. If you don’t want to hear the noise, don’t move near these places. Find a home in the middle of nowhere. The world doesn’t revolve around you, and nobody cares about your baseless complaints. Buy a set of ear plugs and move on.

  3. It certainly makes you wonder, if the Hacienda and planned event space was there prior to people moving in then they really shouldn’t be complaining as long as the noise level is reasonable at a certain time. In Walnut Creek near Heather Farms it gets loud add times and we have some large gatherings as well We’re parking spills into our neighborhood. But at the end of the day the festivals been going on longer than I’ve been living here so you just have to smile or get out of town when those happen.

  4. You had me at “we as a council have a fiscal duty and responsibility to look for ways to create revenue for this town…” The city council shouldn’t be so focused on ways to create revenue so it can spend that revenue on the town…

    I have been to weddings at the Hacienda, it’s a beautiful venue and it can and should be able to co-exist with the neighbors. The venue can see to it that music is played at a reasonable level and the neighbors can understand that when there is a wedding what they hearing is someone is having the best and most important day of their lives and be happy for them.

    A little mindfulness here can go a long way here…

    • All well and good until the next best and most important day – and then the next – and the next. The celebrants celebrate once and move on. The residents continue to live in a party zone they didn’t sign up for.

  5. The neighbors could organize and collectively file dozens of concurrent nuisance lawsuits against every groom, bride, DJ, band, caterer, staffing firm, florist, officiant, bartender and beverage supplier for every event. As word spreads, vendors will decline to service events at the venue.

      • It’s rather a trivial gripe, so I certainly don’t care either.

        Nonetheless, it is their gripe to gripe about. The article opined that the the council dismissively marginalized the neighbors’ gripes when the neighbors griped. Since executive and legislative branches find their gripes unavailing, they can gripe to the judicial branch. Since the city would likely asset sovereign immunity to such a tort claim, the neighbors could instead seek judicial redress against the private parties who’s events underlie their gripes. Though it is uncertain if such claims would succeed if contested, and damages are likely nominal, the legal merits are beside the point. Indeed, if every wedding party and their each of their vendors faces a litigious onslaught as a matter of course, the venue would quickly become an unappealing option.

        Or the neighbors can keep griping to dismissive officials and hope that they reconsider.

  6. Gosh, I thought this was still a country where the people had the power.

    Certainly looks like the “leaders” are in power and the tax payers get the shaft.

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