‘Like Ricochet Canyon’: There is growing concern in Virginia Beach about potential noise from the Atlantic Park project

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Virginia Beach – Residents of the Oceanfront’s Resort Beach neighborhood have become accustomed to hearing live music from their homes. The melodies of a band performing on a beach stage can take up several blocks.

But they are not accustomed to having a music hall in their backyard with open doors, which is inevitable when the Atlantic Park project finally breaks ground, possibly this fall.

A key component of the mixed-use project, which includes a surf park at the former dome site, is an entertainment venue that will host dozens of events each year. Music Celebrity Pharrell Williams, Joe grew up in Virginia Beach, is a participant in the project.

The music hall was moved deeper into the neighborhood last year. And now residents are increasingly concerned about how their lives will change. Noise, outdoor lighting and traffic flow are among their concerns.

“It’s a major project, and it’s going to have a huge impact,” said Nancy Parker, the immediate former president of the Resort Beach Civic League. “It can be positive, but it can also be very negative if these issues are not addressed.”

Resident Venture Realty Group wants more transparency from the developer. They have requested a copy of the noise study from the developer.

Parker said she first raised her concerns about the noise last year when she learned the music venue would have open doors with lawn seating, but she hasn’t yet been convinced the sound will be reduced.

“It’s landing in the middle of a residential area,” Parker said this week. “It’s like Ricochet Valley here.”

Mike Culpepper, Managing Partner, Venture Realty Group, said, He has been more than open with the Civic League about the plans for the project and will attend their next meeting to provide more answers to his questions.

Originally, the entertainment venue was supposed to be on 18th Street and would be on the north side.

Then COVID-19 changed the concept. Live Nation, which will be the venue’s operator, wanted to provide an outdoor viewing area.

“No one knew at the time that we would have the same kind of indoor entertainment in the future,” said Donna McMillan-Whitaker, managing partner of the venture. “We were persuaded to make this a convertible venue to accommodate outdoor events.”

But with the doors open, Amplified Music will project into the Resort Beach neighborhood, McMillan-Whitaker said. So the Venture moved the proposed site to Arctic Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets.

“We mutually agreed to move it so that it faces east,” she said.

The outdoor amphitheater will seat 1,500 people. The three-storey music hall will seat 3,500 people.

The city will be the owner of the venue. Live Nation and Oak View Group will operate it and enter into a lease with the city. Venture Realty Group is coordinating the design and construction. The city has agreed to provide the Venture with grants of up to $5 million annually for 20 years.

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Last July, Metropolitan Acoustics conducted a noise study for the music venue. It studied the impact of noise on neighboring residential properties to the north, south and west of the site.

According to the analysis, typical neighborhood ambient noise levels can range from 40 decibels in very quiet places to 65 decibels in urban locations. In the vicinity of Atlantic Park, ambient noise levels are likely to range from 50-60 decibels.

While the highest decibels will project to the east, homes in the immediate vicinity will be subject to over 85 decibels, which is the equivalent of a freight train or a construction site 100 feet away, according to analysis obtained by Virginian-Pilot. ,

The study recommends ways to reduce the noise, but it’s not clear what the city would need.

Councilor John Moss said the city was committed to respecting neighbours. He also said that Venture Realty may soon come to the city council with more changes.

“Before we make any changes with the Venture, the city has to resolve the gap between the need for Live Nation (for an outdoor pavilion) and a commitment to the community about noise,” Moss said.

Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125, [email protected]