Tempe sides with live music bar in its legal fight over noise complaints with seniors-only dorm

The City of Tempe is hoping to reverse an earlier court decision that muted a live music bar at the behest of a neighboring community for seniors.

Mirabella is a pricey dorm complex for people ages 62 and up that sits on Arizona State University’s campus. According to the Daily Mail, it costs about $5,000 per month and also lets seniors enroll in classes at the university.

The city filed a court document last week that said the judge’s April ruling in favor of the Mirabella retirement community over Shady Park bar had mischaracterized Tempe’s downtown as “principally residential,” according to KPHO-TV.

The judge’s decision, which originated from a November 2021 lawsuit filed by Mirabella after the two couldn’t negotiate a resolution on their own, has effectively shut down the thumping outdoor EDM music at the venue.

“If this bad decision is upheld, Shady Park will be forced to close its doors to so many of our friends, family and employees,” owner Scott Price told USA Today in April. “This is because the revenue from shows is vital to our ability to pay for the other business operations.”

The retirement community opened in December 2020 when Shady Park wasn’t hosting live concerts due to the pandemic. As Tempe came out of its COVID-19 slumber, the two buildings that sit across the street from each other were at loggerheads over the noise.

Part of the argument for shutting down the music, according to KPHO, was that Tempe wasn’t enforcing its own noise ordinances on Shady Park.

“Shady Park has always operated within the legal limits of the City of Tempe, so ultimately what I would like to see is some sort of resolution that all parties can agree on and be happy with,” Tempe City Council member Randy Keating told the station.

Tom Dorough, Mirabella’s executive director, said in a statement to KPHO that Tempe was involved in Mirabella’s groundbreaking in early 2018 and was welcoming to the project throughout.

“The Superior Court already found that the City of Tempe was biased in favor of Shady Park,” Mr. Dorough’s statement said. “This is just another unfortunate example of the city trying to influence the courts while ignoring its role in approving our innovative community.”

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