Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A New Music Hall for Anaheim

The Orange County Register reports on a new music hall opening in Anaheim, with some reservations from the neighbors. http://www.ocregister.com/news/neighborhood-236971-music-hall.html

Apparently the owner of the EXTRON site at Ball and East Streets is creating a steak house restaurant, and is also adding a concert hall, with a focus on country music. The site sits on an arterial corner, but is surrounded by residential properties nearby, and the neighbors are understandably concerned. Sadly if you read the comments section below the Register article, the critiques of the project quickly tailspin into name calling and insults, alluding to the stereotype of country music fans being in-bred hillbillies. But just a quick Google search of demographics http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=514540
shows that Country Music listeners tend to be in the 25-54 year old age range (the folks most likely to spend money), they are Caucasian, female, married, homeowners, with kids, and at least some college education. Not exactly the image of "Bubba passed out on your lawn after a night of downing longneck beers" that the neighbors might fear. The parking lot of this concert hall is far more likely to be filled with Beemers than pickup trucks, and the greatest crime spree may well turn out to be GPS units swiped from those convertibles during the concert, not the shotgun target practice some have posted on the Register site.

In addition, the concert hall appears to have made an agreement with the Planning Commission to utilize the same neighborhood protections agreed to by the owners of the Ember nightclub in the Anaheim Colony Historic District. Like the EXTRON site, the Ember property fronts onto a busy arterial street, but backs onto and is surrounded by residences, and those neighbors were greatly concerned for quality of life issues, for the same reasons as the EXTRON neighbors likely are. The owners of Ember agreed to Conditional Use that specified on-site security to keep the party from spilling onto neighboring streets, as well as valet parking, and a strictly enforced dress code. The Ember nightclub has become an assett to the community, and using those same restrictions for the EXTRON site is likely to produce an equally beneficial project. The Conditional Use Permit also gives the neighbors the reassurance that if the owner fails to abide by the rules, the Permit can be pulled. That is a lot more comfort and local control than we get when a "party house" picks up down the street, and we cannot get the cooperation of the absentee landlord to quell the keggers.

A concert hall at Ball and East Street would also create yet another entertainment venue for Resort visitors, who often complain of a lack of nightlife or free-time options after a convention, outside of Disney. Conventioners visiting for a business trip want an adult oriented venue to relax after a busy day of walking through medical device booths at the Convention Center, and they have money to spend, money that goes back into the coffers of Anaheim's General Fund.

I have not spoken to the neighbors, but it appears the project could be a win-win, as long as the neighbors have their concrerns addressed in the CUP, and the owner acts in good faith to abide by those concerns. This could be a great step in closing the gap of the cultural vaccuum of Anaheim. Bring on the music!


KeithO said...

Your only statement that I would dispute is "The Conditional Use Permit also gives the neighbors the reassurance that if the owner fails to abide by the rules, the Permit can be pulled." Anaheim has a long history of never pulling the CUP's of well connected businesses regardless of how many complaints or violations. You need only look at the Salvation Army for a glaring example. And then of course there's Adam's Steel who, after the city spent $1Million+ suing them was then given an extended CUP. Did I mention a councilman's son worked there at the time? Conditional Use Permits sound good, but like laws they're only good when enforced. Keith

colony rabble said...

Kinda like Code Enforcement, shopping cart laws, speed limts...if the City does not follow up we have a problem. Time to figure out a way to start holding their feet to the fire!