The first hints of spring are in the air, which means the summer season of sporting events and concerts at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City is just around the corner. Last year, the noise from concerts such as Bassnectar and Luke Bryan carried as far south as Montview Blvd., drawing a slew of complaints from Denver residents.
One of the problems in this situation has been the cross-jurisdictional nature of it—the noise originates in Commerce City yet bothers Stapleton residents in Denver. According to Paul Riedesel of Denver’s Office of Environmental Health, the city of Denver has no authority to act on complaints. “As soon as the noise source is outside of the city or county of Denver lines or borders, that’s pretty much where my authority ends,” said Riedesel.
But in practice, Riedesel has addressed noise complaints from outside Denver that have originated within Denver, and luckily, that is the approach that neighboring Commerce City is taking as well. In fact, the Commerce City Police Department has been working behind the scenes to mitigate the effects of noise and vibrations from the venue since last summer.
Commerce City Police Commander Ken Evans, himself a recent Texas transplant, reached out for advice to a sound enforcement officer from Austin, Texas, home to a vibrant music scene. Officer Cory Ehler flew to Colorado and consulted with Commerce City on the subtleties of sound monitoring and control.
From Ehler, Evans and his officers learned about measuring sound at the mix, communicating directly with sound engineers during events, and that the number and placement of speakers at an event can dramatically affect how sound carries. Commerce City hopes to implement a new, tiered permitting system that would allow greater lead time for the police to prepare for big events.
Commerce City is also working closely with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, owner of Dick’s, who “agreed that they will start talking to promoters to make sure none of their speakers are angled above the walls of the venue.” Kroenke and the police discussed having direct access to the sound engineer during concerts so “we can immediately call there,” said Evans, should neighborhood complaints rise.
Evans noted that Commerce City and Kroenke might partner to contract for a sound study, a pricey undertaking that could cost up to $50,000. But the sound study could further elucidate just how and where sound carries from the venue and what additional measures can be taken to mitigate noise while preserving the music experience for concert-goers, said Evans.
Evans and Riedesel plan to be at the Stapleton United Neighbors meeting on April 18 to brief Stapleton residents on the issues involved with noise from Dick’s.