Noisy Schools & Businesses in the Neighborhood

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Noisy Bar down the street what can I do?

May 2012

I've been in this house for 6 years and the bar down the street is getting more and more difficult to deal with. Live music almost every night of the week, so loud I can hear it in my house which is on the other side of Shattuck from this place and 3 houses down the block, with the windows closed. People smoking on the corner, usually about 10 at a time and they hang out there almost the entire evening having loud conversations, and the drunker they are the louder they get. Not to mention the poetry slam nights when there are at least 20 of them out there. I've spoken the owners, things get better for a week or so then we are back to the noisy usual. This is a residential neighborhood and it's almost impossible to find street parking after 8pm almost every night. I've seen other bars in Berkeley with signs outside to remind patrons to keep the noise down and respect the neighborhood, and I've also seen that most have a bouncer at the door minding the noise onto the street and the behavior of the patrons on the sidewalk. I've been trying to work with the owners, what are my options to pursue more formal complaints? I've tried the police, but it seems in South Berkeley noise is not high on the priority list and the dispatches have at times been outright rude. I have kept a log and talked with officers, who tell me to try working with the owners. That is no longer working. Can anyone advise me on what to do here? Moving is not an option. And I understand the need for a place for musicians to play, a place for poetry slams, I get it. I want some respect paid to the people who call this neighborhood home too. Sleepless and cranky

I hate to say this but the bar predates your moving into the neighborhood by many years. I think you have a couple of choices -- work on soundproofing your house with better windows, white noise machine, etc., or consider moving. I also live near to a use that is noisy at certain times of day, and try to be positive about the way that use makes the neighborhood better, and keeps people on the street. Shattuck Avenue is one of the central streets in South Berkeley, and if it is not this business it will be another one. I think you are fortunate that this one is more active and there are more eyes on the street because 10 or 15 years ago there were quite a few shootings in the blocks off Shattuck in South Berkeley. another Berkeley homeowner


Noisy next door day care from hell

April 2005

We moved into our first house several months ago but failed to anticipate the noise that would be raised by the day care that backs into our back yard. I work from home and will soon have a baby. The noise drives me up the wall. It is a huge distraction. It is possitively unnerving. I've tried hard for months to ignore it, mask it, ask them to keep it down-all to no avail. I feel like an ogre, but it is only going to get worse as the summer comes. They are already out four, five hours a day-and screaming much of the time. The director also yells when she is out there, but for the most part it seems the kids are unsupervised. What can I do? Does anyone know who we can call or what our rights are in this? Do you think an air horn would be overkill? Help! mean ol' ogre

Dear Ogre, This would annoy the heck out of me too. I think you will find you have no legal recourse on this, as the noise is generated during the day, not during sleeping hours.

You should get better sound insulation. I was told that if you build a wall next to another wall, just leave a small air gap between the walls and the sound will not be able to travel. This means leaving your windows closed during the day and a smaller workspace, but your sanity is worth it. If you don't wish to do this, perhaps you could work elsewhere, which seems more reasonable than buying a new house!

Whatever you do, you need to address this, as I don't think the kids and the noise will go away. I don't recommend your bullhorn idea though. :D Ali

I don't know how to really solve the problem, but as a very noise-sensitive person myself, I can tell you about some amazing headphones you can try for free for 30 days. They use ''reverse soundwave technology'' to detect the soundwaves of continuous noise (like traffic, BART noise, or, probably, kids screaming) and make an opposite sound wave that cancels out the one coming in. It makes it much quieter and still easier to hear non-continuous noises, like conversation. You can wear them alone or listen to music through them. They don't have any wires coming from them. Really a huge relief to put them on. You can get them from and return them within 30 days if you don't like them, and they might give you some relief until you solve the problem. no noise

I'm sorry to say, but kids make noise. Especially lots of kids. You will soon find this out. Unless you are willing to move, I'd say your only option is earplugs or those noise muffling head phones. I think an air horn will only get you cited for disturbing the peace yourself, and harassing children. I don't think it is at all realistic to ask kids in childcare to ''keep it down.'' Especially when they are outside.

You could also investigate double paned glass for your windows, and some extra thick noise-muffling drapes. That would be about it Shushing is for Libraries