In 2012, the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society reached a settlement with the OC Fair Board regarding the site plan for the Pacific Amphitheatre remodel in which the berm was resculpted, a new lobby was built, and the plaza area facing the interior of the Fairgrounds was built. Terms of the settlement agreement include using a qualifed noise monitor and maintaining a tracking system for noise complaints.
The settlement was ratified at the only joint meeting between the OC Fair Board and the Costa Mesa City Council in July 1996. The agreement capped the number of people allowed on the property at 25,500 when the OC Fair was not being held, require use of leased parking with shuttles when needed, and required cooperation with the City of Costa Mesa on traffic control. Plans for a hotel and off track betting facility were also dropped.
A copy of the 1991 Master Site Plan is included in the City Atty Report files.
Documents regarding this matter
The OC Fairgrounds built the Pacific Amphitheatre facing into the neighborhoods, with twice as many seats as what the neighbors were told, and on a 10 acre footprint instead of a 6 acre footprint. The Pacific Amphitheatre was operated by Nederlander, which proceeded to book hard rock acts which were very loud, which blew out the neighborhoods with the noise. Nederlander and the Fairgrounds did not coordinate well, which led to Nederlander concerts jamming City streets and people parking in the neighborhoods. The Concerned Citizens lawsuits took over a decade to resolve and ended with noise limits placed on the Pacific Amphitheatre. Nederlander and the Fair Board claimed that the noise limits made the Pacific Amphitheatre unusable. No concerts were held from 1995 to 2003 because no way could be found to hold concerts without disturbing the neighborhoods. The Pacific Amphitheatre opened in 2003 when the Fair Board hired Gary Hardesty to design the sound system and to manage compliance with the sound limits.
Documents related to the matter
The OC Fair Board created a Master Plan in 1977 which was not compatible with the neighborhoods around the Fairgrounds. The settlement obligated the Fairgrounds to follow City standards for road construction and to pay for traffic signals to be installed. The Fairgrounds was required to dedicate land for creation of turning lanes to improve traffic flow and to create the entries at the intersection of Fair Drive and Vanguard and at Fairview Road and Merrimac. Sound limits consistent with the Costa Mesa municipal code were imposed. A planned commercial development was deleted with the a museum to be substituted if the Fairgrounds was able to do so.
A copy of the settlement Download CM City_ 32 Ag Agrmnt Aug 1980
There are 4 legal settlements with the OC Fairgrounds which protect the neighborhoods around the Fairgrounds. Each settlement is the product of a Master Site Plan. The settlements are:
1980 Settlement with the City of Costa Mesa requiring storm water runoff management, traffic management, compliance with the municipal code for noise limits and specific types of development, and deletion of a planned commercial development, among other provisions.
Concerned Citizens Settlement to reign in the Pacific Amphitheatre which led to the closure of the Pacific Amphitheatre from 1995 to 2003 and imposed noise limits on the venue, among other provisions.
1996 Settlement with the City of Costa Mesa which imposes a cap of a 25,500 total persons on the property at any time outside of the annual OC Fair, requires the use of leased parking and shuttles to meet parking demands, limits development, and eliminated proposed hotel, restaurant and off track betting facility, among other provisions.
2012 Settlement with the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society to continue the noise limits on the Pacific Amphitheatre, require the use of a trained sound monitor, require a complaint monitoring system for noise complaints, and limit seating in the Pacific Amphitheatre to 8,500 seats, among other provisions.