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Published October 5th, 2016
Lafayette Pool Dives into Dispute With Neighbors
The Sun Valley Swimming Pool club. Photo Cathy Dausman

What are the acceptable sight and sound parameters for a Lafayette swim pool? That is the question being asked and answered as Sun Valley Swimming Pool applies for a land use permit to allow what board members say will insure the pool's continued fiscal health.
At issue is satisfactorily balancing a proposed membership increase and expanded operation of the six-lane pool on Lelend Drive with neighborhood concerns over increased crowds, noise levels and parking.
Additional concerns about handling garbage and light pollution were also raised.
SVSP club president T.J. Grossi says the city was alerted to the pool's increased use "mostly when we began playing amplified music at our meets, and the neighbors of our pool were affected by this enhancement." Cheering crowd noise and electronic starting beeps are different than the loud amplified pop music SVSP has requested; Grossi says; "one is tenable (to the neighbors), the other is not."
The city of Lafayette and SVSP neighbors responded with concerns about noise and limited onsite parking. Pool grounds have only six parking spots; overflow parking uses a nearby daycare center and a church by agreement. Grossi said the pool funded an environmental review "at great expense" and the board hosted a series of four outreach meetings to bring pool leadership, neighbors and the city together.
"We found that there was intense organized opposition to our permit as applied for by a very small number of adjacent neighbors," Grossi said, and the largest and most complex issue was noise. The city received three written comments about the matter from individuals who suggested the city apply "reasonable parameters" to any changes. The fourth letter (unsigned) from "adjacent neighbors of Sun Valley Pool" opposed the land use permit "entirely," raising concerns about excess traffic, pedestrian safety, buildings not to code, potential alcohol abuse, sanitation deficits and excess noise resulting from a proposed membership increase.
SVSP members themselves have complained to Grossi about other pools being able to use amplified music when they can't. Grossi says even their pool attorneys cannot find a legal argument favoring its use, but adds "as far as I know, no other (Lamorinda) pool permit lists amplified music as a condition of operation."
Grossi says he has been working closely and amicably with Lafayette city project planner Adam Foster. At the Sept. 19 planning commission meeting, the pair was in and out in a matter of minutes when the item was granted a continuance to the Oct. 3 meeting. Foster says the city wants details about just when the pool would use amplified sound. Grossi hopes to make the end result "better for the neighbors and more enjoyable for the swim team."

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