Mirabella at ASU exterior shot
Mirabella at ASU (courtesy of Mirabella at ASU)

An Arizona life plan community may have won a court round against a local concert venue over noise levels, but it is losing local support.

Thursday, the entire membership of the Tempe City Council signed a letter penned by Vice Mayor Randy Keating expressing the elected leaders’ “strong support” for the music venue, Shady Park, as a “driver of a thriving arts and culture community.”

The live music venue recently lost a court battle when the Maricopa County Superior Court sided with Mirabella at ASU in granting a preliminary injunction against the establishment. The injunction prohibits Shady Park from emitting noise that exceeds the city of Tempe’s community standard, and it sets parameters related to performances.

The Tempe City Council letter — addressed to the “Tempe arts and culture community” —  stated that ruling could have “a chilling effect” on live music across the city, costing jobs and robbing the city of an “economic and cultural asset.”

Mirabella at ASU Executive Director Tom Dorough, in a written statement issued in response to city council’s letter, reiterated a previous statement from the provider that it supports live music in the city and never attempted to shut down Shady Park. He said the court ordered Shady Park to make “reasonable changes” to its operation of outdoor concerts.

“Rather than comply with these changes, Shady Park has voluntarily chosen to cancel its concerts,” Dorough said. 

The Tempe City Council letter called Shady Park a “consistent force for good in Tempe’s downtown,” noting the venue’s community service, including feeding the homeless and contributing “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to local nonprofits across the region.

The city officials said the ruling casts doubt about its ability to regulate and promote live music, as well as the ability of elected officials to “determine the best policies for our community as a whole.”

Noting its “abiding respect” for Mirabella’s residents, the letter called for a peaceful coexistence between the music venue and the area’s residents.

“We hope that this local business can be preserved and that live music venues, which contribute much to Tempe’s culture, will be able to continue to add to our city’s quality of life and economy,” the city council letter reads.

Dorough said the court ruling “is not about live music in Tempe; it’s about the specific public and private nuisance caused by Shady Park’s excessive noise.”

“The court carefully considered evidence from people of all ages who live and work on University Avenue, including hotel management who receive numerous complaints about Shady Park’s excessive noise every single weekend, and students who can’t ‘think, study and work’ during Shady Park concerts, in addition to residents at Mirabella who simply want to sleep at night and enjoy their homes as every person does,” Dorough said.

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