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City could put restrictions on Cliff music

July 25, 2013|By Bryce Alderton
  • Andrew Turula is general manager of The Cliff in Laguna Beach. The Laguna Beach Planning Commission will hold a hearing regarding a noise complaint against The Cliff's "Music Matters" series during Wednesday's meeting. Turula will argue against the possible stoppage of live music.
Andrew Turula is general manager of The Cliff in Laguna… (KEVIN CHANG, Coastline…)

Andrew Turula is concerned that a popular weekday music series at a South Coast Highway restaurant could be in jeopardy.

But Turula, the general manager of the Cliff restaurant, at 577 S. Coast Hwy., has nearly two months to prepare his case to convince Planning Commissioners that the Music Matters series at the venue should remain and doesn't violate the city's noise ordinance.

At their Wednesday night meeting, Planning Commissioners voted to continue the Cliff restaurant's request, which would allow outdoor live entertainment from 6 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 5 to 10 p.m. on weekends as part of its conditional use permit, to its Sept. 25 meeting.

The restaurant has received complaints that music is too loud, though Turula said noise levels fall below the maximum standards.

"We've had people complain about the volume, that we're causing a ruckus," Turula said in a phone interview. "Since then we've gotten rid of open mic nights and rock bands and now bring in only local artists. We keep it within municipal code and go no later than 10 p.m."

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Music Matters series artists perform in the fire-pit area upstairs while weddings are usually held on the event terrace on the property's lower level.

Callers who claim the music is too loud remain anonymous, Turula said.

"They call us but they never leave a name or phone number and they call from a blocked number so we can't call them back," he said.

Turula is requesting live entertainment be included in the Cliff's conditional use permit, which Planning Commissioners approved in 1995 to allow open-air amplified music for weddings and special events on weekends.

Though approved, the special-event music portion of the CUP never became effective since the Cliff's then-owner and/or applicant didn't return a signed consent form and affidavit, a city staff report said.

In 1998, the Planning Commission approved allowing a full-service bar for the Cliff.

The police have kept track of noise complaints and included a tally with the staff report.

Seven loud music complaints were made in 2012 while nine have been made this year, according to police.

The earliest call was at 8:32 p.m. and the latest was 10:12 p.m. for this year, according to the call log. This year's noise complaints have only occurred on weekdays, which is when the Cliff holds its Music Matters series, the staff report said.

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