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Neighbors Renewing Complaints After Noise Violation at the Greek

August 22, 1985|SAM ENRIQUEZ | Times Staff Writer

After years of futile complaints by residents, police conceded this week that noise from a rock concert last weekend at the Greek Theatre exceeded city regulations.

Authorities also are investigating the popular Griffith Park amphitheater for violations of alcohol regulations.

Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department's noise enforcement team measured sound during a performance by popular rock singer Sting and his band. The test was conducted from a resident's home in the adjacent Los Feliz area Friday night.

A complaint will likely be presented to the city attorney's office this week, Police Capt. Robert Taylor said.

Officer Jeff Siggers, a member of the monitoring team, said results are confidential because the investigation is continuing. Although a single violation is grounds for prosecution under the city's noise ordinance, Siggers said police generally monitor a situation several times.

'Like to Abate Problem'

"We try to determine whether it's one rock group, or is it every time there is a band at the Greek," Siggers said. "We would like to be able to abate the problem and use good public relations rather than storm-troop the problem."

However, Los Feliz residents say the Sting concert was just one of many events that have created not only excessive noise, but also heavy traffic and rowdyism, which they say is regular fare at the Greek.

The Greek, built 50 years ago by Col. Griffith J. Griffith in what was then a rustic canyon, is a natural amphitheater that has what Griffith called "remarkable acoustic properties." Griffith donated the land for the park that now bears his name.

In that era of softer, unamplified music, Griffith could not have predicted that the site would one day carry the sounds of electric guitars, squealing saxophones and screaming fans to nearby Los Feliz residents.

'Noise Has Become Ridiculous'

"Mainly it's the noise," said Michele Squier, who has lived right above the theater for 13 years. "When they have hard rock, it's impossible to hear anything but the Greek Theatre. . . . During the hot summer months we like to keep our windows open, but we end up closing them just to hear our TV or radio. The noise, the traffic and horn blowing have become ridiculous."

Neighbors said recently that fans have become increasingly annoying.

"We have a tremendous problem of people roaming the hillsides, looking for places to party or for a lover's lane," Squier said. "There's a vacant lot nearby that draws people with beer and loud radios who come before the show and after, sometimes until 3 a.m. They leave junk-food boxes, beer cans, what have you. It looks like a city dump, and it's become a public urinal."

Complaints drew the vice squad to last Thursday's show, Capt. Taylor said. Two minors were ejected from the show for possession of alcohol, but no arrests were made.

"We've had complaints about too much alcohol and too much dope," Taylor said. "Some of the neighbors complain about their yards being trashed and people driving over their lawns. . . . Maybe they are selling too much beer."

Taylor said officers saw concessionaires selling beer in 24-ounce cups, four at a time. He said he has arranged to meet with the Greek's management this week to discuss alcohol sales.

Susan Rosenbluth, the Greek's general manager, said beer sales are limited to two cups at a time, and sales are stopped 45 minutes before the end of each show. A valid driver's license is required to buy beer.

Rosenbluth said she has received no complaints about noise this season.

Any increase in traffic jams, she said, might be caused by crowds from shows at the nearby planetarium, which gives laserium shows at night.

"Since the city closed off access through Ferndell Road, I have noticed a lot of problems due to the laserium traffic in the last three weeks," Rosenbluth said.

Run by Private Company

Some neighbors said they have not complained about problems at the Greek because there is no office number for the theater listed in the phone book or available through the operator. A number listed in advertisements reaches a ticket agency.

Some longtime residents said they have grown tired of complaining about the problems, which, they say, began nearly a decade ago when operation of the theater was taken over from the city by Nederlander of California entertainment company.

The city still is the landlord and collected nearly $5 million in its share of fees and revenues last season. What was once a county-subsidized venue with a two-month season has grown into a profitable multimillion-dollar operation with shows from May to October.

"We've been fighting City Hall for years, but to no avail," resident Barney Feldman said. "We have filed complaints for noise, traffic, liquor, trash, defecation and illegal use of property."

Feldman said the city attorney has said that it would be a conflict of interest to pursue complaints against the Greek because the city owns the land.

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