(COLORADO SPRINGS) — A civil lawsuit filed Tuesday, Sept. 26 is calling for the construction of an outdoor amphitheater in Colorado Springs to stop.
The suit seeks a permanent court order to halt the Sunset Amphitheater’s construction and operation, unless or until it can demonstrate compliance with a Colorado noise law.
A Colorado Springs neighbor, Michael Kuhn, and the Northside Neighbors Association claim the Sunset Amphitheater will create a ‘public nuisance’ and ‘noisy monstrosity’ that will harm the quality of life and property values of nearby homeowners and community members.
Once built, the Sunset Amphitheater will hold 8,000 people and plans to have around 50 concerts each year. As construction reaches 25% completion, a new lawsuit is pumping the brakes.
“We’ve gone through the planning and development process over the last two years and we’ve been approved all the way along,” JW Roth, Founder and CEO of Notes Live, explained. “When we found out about this, it was a very big surprise.”
Named as defendants are Colorado Springs entertainment company Notes Live and Notes Live Real Estate and Development, who are building the amphitheater at the north side Polaris Pointe residential and commercial development located southeast of I-25 and North Gate Boulevard.
“Part of the goal of this lawsuit is to educate the city about the noise pollution law and about the provisions of the city’s ordinance that we contend are in conflict with that,” said Colorado Springs Attorney Ian Speir of Covenant Law.
Since the amphitheater’s proposal, there have been mixed reactions. The lawsuit argues the 8,000-person venue will make it harder to find parking in addition to creating a noisy environment.
“Notes Live itself has admitted in public documents, specifically their project statement, that it will not be possible to comply with the noise pollution law, their words by the way, not mine,” Speir explained. “With respect to at least some of the residences that are in the area, especially the apartments that are right next door, the Polaris Junction Apartments.”
According to the lawsuit, the Colorado Noise Pollution Law, which says “noise is a major source of environmental pollution,” considers that noise levels over 50 decibels and after 7 p.m. in residential zones “are a public nuisance,” while “periodic, impulsive or shrill noises” in the same residential areas and after the same hour of the day also “are a public nuisance.” The lawsuit says the Sunset Amphitheatre will emit noise in excess of those decibel levels at eight nearby neighborhoods and apartment complexes. The lawsuit claims the noise study conducted by LSTN Consultants, a New York-based firm hired by Notes Live, “is deeply flawed” for a variety of reasons, including ignoring noise impacts on two nearby apartment complexes and failing to measure noise impacts.
The man behind the project says before the Sunset Amphitheatre was approved in January, Notes Live conducted an independent noise study and Colorado Springs City Council gave the project the green light.
“The studies have sort of led the process for us as it relates to traffic, noise, and parking,” Roth explained. “At the end of the day, I have spent an additional $3 million in building new parking and while I’m not 100% sure of all of the mitigation steps that will ultimately take place, I can tell you that our plan is to be within compliance not only on the state’s ordinance, and the city’s ordinance.”
Roth said the project will create 500 jobs, with an estimated $170 million a year in economic impact.
“To stop a project like this would be just devastating,” Roth said.
The Sunset Amphitheater has a planned opening date of July 2024.