Liberty Bank Building’s rooftop music series will go on despite ‘once wonderful peaceful neighborhood’ complaints

Organizers of a weekly music party on the rooftop of the new Liberty Bank Building say the shows will go on despite a neighbor’s social media messages and complaints to police about the noise and the “terrible nuisance” in the “once wonderful peaceful neighborhood” around 24th and Union.

“Our team looks forward to continuing to serve the community with this live music series on the next three Thursdays 7:30-9:45pm.,” the producer of Level R Events said in a statement sent CHS. “We are listening to neighbor concerns, and will proactively work with our para-technicians to ensure that volume levels are within city ordinances.”


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Capitol Hill Housing, the nonprofit affordable housing developer of the building that also manages the property, says it will continue supporting the free, RSVP-only events with live music, food, and dancing amid the solar panels on the Liberty Bank Building’s roof and its command of a fantastic view of the surrounding Central District neighborhoods.

Africatown Media has documented the “BBQ Becky” social media and police complaints against the weekly series put on this summer by Central District resident Georgio Brown.

In one, the complaining neighbor throws down the “peaceful neighborhood” line:

Unfortunately the new Liberty Bank Building affordable housing has become a terrible nuisance to this once wonderful peaceful neighborhood in just a few short months since opening. They have decided to sponsor open air rooftop parties every Thursday night (Level R Productions) blaring music across this once quite peaceful neighborhood. Think the annoyance of people who blast music on hiking trails or in thier cars up and down the strip and you begin to understand the negative impact this building is forcing on the community. We live over six blocks away and can hear the music in our home with the window and doors closed. Sad that this is what the development is known for.

Capitol Hill Housing said it received “a phone call and complaint from a neighbor” and that SPD was, indeed, also called, and checked the decibel level, determining it to be within allowable legal levels.

Police, of course, did not shut down the event after the complaint. And the social media complaints haven’t gone unchecked. One respondent writes:

I think the more ‘sad’ factor if anything is the egg-shell presence of space invaders like yourself who are so DISCONNECTED with the historic communities in which they attempt to move in to and claim as their own, that they (you) ignorantly reveal your unwanted entitlement and claim some level of soap-Box-general status that you feel as if the community needs to adjust to YOU.

Capitol Hill Housing said its staff have worked to make adjustments based on the feedback, “including lowering the music, relocating the rooftop stage closer to the non-residential side of the building, conducting non-resident visitors to the rooftop to diminish the foot traffic standing outside on the ground floor, and breaking down and moving things out between 9:30-10.”

Staff have also invited nearby neighbors to attend, CHH said.

Named to honor the region’s first Black-owned bank that once stood at the corner, the six-story, 115-unit affordable housing Liberty Bank Building opened in March as a collaboration between Capitol Hill Housing, Africatown, The Black Community Impact Alliance, and Byrd Barr Place. Its model of inclusive development and “affirmative marketing” to Black residents are being held up as a model as the city formulates efforts like community preference, a new anti-displacement policy that encourages nonprofit developers receiving city money to offer a portion of their affordable units to communities with ties to the neighborhood. Around 86% of the Liberty Bank residents are Black.

While the situation around the weekly music series echoes with similar social media storms over race in other parts of the country, it also is a situation involving social issues including wealth and affordability, and, yes, noise. With increasing density around Capitol Hill, CHS has covered noise complaint issues involving bars and clubs on the Hill and we’ll be revisiting the issue soon as city officials are looking for solutions for the city’s increasingly dense neighborhoods.

In the meantime, Thursday’s Rooftop Live Music Series show featuring Roc Phizzle and Friends is still a go. You can learn more at weseayou.net.

The full statement about Level R Events is below:

Level R Events at Liberty Bank Building was created to showcase local talent and film them on a beautiful new rooftop in Seattle’s Central District. Content will be released on WeSEAyou.net, a new production company developing a podcast & vlog spotlight. We have been pleased with the overwhelmingly positive feedback, including coverage on KIRO 7 Seattle and an article by AfricaTownMedia tying this series to the rich musical history of the neighborhood https://www.africatownmedia.com/post/up-on-the-roof.

Our team looks forward to continuing to serve the community with this live music series on the next three Thursdays 7:30-9:45pm. We are listening to neighbor concerns, and will proactively work with our para-technicians to ensure that volume levels are within city ordinances.

We invite the community to RSVP and join us on the roof.

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49 thoughts on “Liberty Bank Building’s rooftop music series will go on despite ‘once wonderful peaceful neighborhood’ complaints

  1. If it’s only one complaint, why is the noise issue the focus of the story?
    Why not treat it as a nice neighborhood event with a passing reference to the gripe about noise. This reads like a bid to stir up controversy.

    • good hypothetical! I’m guessing if it was just one complaint, it would not be the focus. But since it’s a lot more than one complaint, it is the focus! I know, you were mislead by the article only *linking* to the rest of the information, with a clear description of the link as “Africatown Media has documented the “BBQ Becky” social media and police complaintSSSSSSSSSSSS”, and only quoting one facebook post and mentioning one direct call to the organizers – wait that’s already two or three? oh shit you didn’t even read all the text on this page, no wonder you couldn’t be bothered following any links!

    • It’s way, way more than one complaint.

      Turn your fucking music down. Not a racial issue. I’m sure it’s not only white people sick of being forced to listen to LBB’s music.

      Maybe someone should go blast heavy metal at full-volume outside the building for three hours every Wednesday evening until the residents agree to a truce.

      • A true BBQ Becky right here.

        “I know you say you ain’t the ones in the white sheets

        But these suits and ties are similar to me”

  2. Guessing these newbs didn’t live around there during the “good old days” of 8 – 10 hears ago when you were more likely to hear the sound of multiple gun shots.

    • Quick googling, this complainer has been in Seattle for 4 whole years! Though part of that was down in Belltown. He’s like totally old-hat now, and definitely speaks as the voice of his neighborhood!
      /s

      • These people, I don’t know if they’re aware of me quoting Ice Cube ‘there goes the neighborhood’ as I drive by, self-entitled jerks!

    • For sure some of them did when they bought houses that your grandparents sold to them. Its just a shame they can’t appreciate that there’s a fun party going on in their neighborhood because when I lived there until 1996 or so it was all gunfire and cab drivers murdering musicians on their way home from the bar.

      • Anyone bringing up gunfire and gang issues of the CD have cause and effect backwards and are straight up racist. You draw lines and tell us where to live then make all the jobs far away while hiring blacks at a rate of less than 3% then when we have to resort to drug dealing to pay our bills y’all throw us in jail. Messed up.

        All so you can complain about noise and the violence that leaves because white folk have it easy and don’t have to resort to criminal activity to make money. Damn… too bad you see the world completely backwards

      • Hey Danny from the CD – I agree with you absolutely. I was simply stating that I lived there a long time ago and we would have been overjoyed to have a party to listen to rather than some of the challenges we did face there. Which is no way a statement meant to diminish the challenges that black people faced in our city with redlining and the economic and social ills that it imposed. I loved living there and wanted to stay.

    • Sorry but no one group of people “owns” a neighborhood. Anyone can live wherever they can afford or want…. or not.

      By suggesting that new (others) are moving in on “your” neighborhood is no less xenophobic than what Trump says about immigrants.

      • Actually no, with redlining anyone could NOT live wherever they wanted. White people could live where they wanted, but black families could only get mortgages in specific neighborhoods, which is why those became the black neighborhoods.

        The problem is now, that black families don’t have a legacy of multiple options of neighborhoods to live in, so they are institutionally excluded from building a presence and wealth in certain places (like North Seattle). Which is why these issues are so sensitive in the Central District which does feel like it has been taken over by white people and which is one of the few places where black residents in our city have a true sense of belonging and history.

        This is why the dude complaining about the party is a total dick. Because if he understood that he would have recognized that the party is more than just a rooftop annoyance that’s ruining ‘his’ neighborhood. Its a celebration of our black residents having a place and history in our city, which is increasingly gentrifying and driving out all the richness we once had. He should show some respect for the historical frame of reference he’s living in, and some appreciation of the opportunity he’s being presented to be part of the resurrection of that neighborhood.

      • @Cat: Your comments are very thoughtful, but I’m not sure what you mean that black people are “institutionally excluded” from living in certain areas, such as North Seattle. It seems to me that anyone can live in those areas these days, as long as they can afford them.

        Perhaps you can explain further what you mean.

      • Bob, I just mean that historically exclusion from certain areas was institutionalized because a black family couldn’t get a mortgage for certain neighborhoods but white families could. Of course now anyone could buy where ever they can afford to live, but if historical events have excluded a race from an area, they may not have been able to build the wealth over time that would make it possible to live in those places. For example because the value of equity in the redline area homes may not have risen to the same level of buying power as the prices in the North End neighborhoods would require. And then factor in lower wages, rising cost of living etc. for anyone not in tech and that compounds things.

  3. I think the Thursday night series sounds kindof awesome. I hope we all can figure out a way to make it work and grow the community vibe at Liberty Bank.

    Noise can be a nuisance in the summer time. A lot of us have our windows open because it’s hot and bedtime for little kids can be 8pm for some, so that gets tricky. Around out place, we seem to inevitably get a bunch of goofballs conversing while trying to catch their Uber at 2am. Life in the city!

  4. White people should always feel uncomfortable in the CD.

    How y’all live with that guilt here? Displacing a group that was brought together by racial covenants and redlining,,,that y’all did so you could have your playgrounds in other parts of the city. Can’t you just move? Why HERE?

    #frustrated

    • I think they don’t feel guilty because they don’t even know what redlining is or what happened in the CD. Partly because they aren’t from Seattle – they are techies who have moved here from other places. Not to excuse their ignorance though, because I don’t.

      • I’m a white lifelong Seattleite and low-level public servant currently renting a basement apartment in the CD. I am very aware of Seattle’s history of redlining and housing discrimination in our not-so-distant past. Deep systemic racism is alive and well in this city. Not everyone is a totally indifferent, ignorant tech employee transplant, though I know I contribute to displacement regardless. “Why here?” The honest answer is that when my old Capitol Hill apartment building was sold and I needed to quickly find a new place to live, that CD apartment is what was available at that time within my price range. I didn’t take the decision lightly and at the same time needed to find somewhere to live ASAP (despite being a lifelong Seattleite, I don’t have a great support system or friend network to fall back on and if I didn’t find a place to live, I wouldn’t have a place to live). I don’t know why I felt compelled to comment. Probably my white guilt. I guess it doesn’t matter that I’m not a high-paid tech employee because the result is the same, I just wanted to say something. And the longer I ramble on the dumber I feel.

    • KB that’s the problem. Yeah it’s cheaper but YOU should live further away and make a commute instead of pushing US out because it used to be even cheaper than what you pay now…and also the only place people would sell us homes.

      I empathize with the struggle of being poor. Black or white.

      Just live somewhere else. It’s complicated here.

      • If I moved out of the CD on principle, wouldn’t some other white person come along, maybe one who really is ignorant to the history of the area? Wouldn’t that be the worse of two bad options?

        I don’t know what to do. Has there ever been a success story of a city turning the tide on gentrification once it’s already started?

  5. Why don’t they do this on a Friday or Saturday night when everyone’s a little more relaxed about noise? Thursday night seems like a weird night for this.

      • The city has noise regulations. This event seems to be following them. There is an amount of noise that would be unacceptable but this isn’t it.

      • Ah, typically shitty response from a typical shitty Seattle person. But you’re absolutely right. 15 years here and I need to get out and let the Amazombies and those who think they’re entitled because they were “here first” fight it out. Worst people I’ve ever lived with – and that’s 8 cities in 4 countries. Nobody comes close.

    • As a frequent commenter on CD topics who’s also named Steve and often signs my comments that way, I want to be clear that this Steve is not me. I’ve lived lots of places too and think Seattleites are a complex mix of personalities, good and bad, just like any other large and heterogeneous group of people. We have some special challenges in the current moment related to how rapidly we’re growing, but that’s also not uncommon in the history of cities more broadly.

  6. How do you justify forcing others to listen to your music?
    Do you force them to listen to your religious or political opinions?
    The city noise ordinance says we must keep our music on our own properties. How do you justify breaking the law?

    • The noise laws need to be changed or ignored. Bottom line.

      I don’t hear y’all enforcing them on my white college kid neighbors… get them arrested for making noise first then we’ll talk about LBB parties.

      If you think LBB is loud, wait until we get some of my boys in the new AfricaTown building on the next block. It’s going to be LIT.

      Bring out all yall BBQ Beckys

      • @Danny – Uhm, no one at LBB got arrested… someone made a complaint… which seems is one of the defining characteristics of modern Seattle, complaining. Probably has always been, but since Al Gore invented in the internet we all get to find out about it now.

        Feel free to make a complaint about your neighbors; no one is interfering with you exercising your right to do so.

        Busy-bodies do come in all races, ages, sexes, orientations, heights, weights, and religions.

        In general I would think that an organized, promoted, weekly music event held on the roof top of one of the largest buildings in the area would receive more scrutiny from said busy-bodies than a house party on some street that may be nowhere near them.

    • Don’t quiet hours start at 10pm?

      It sounds like they’re wrapped up by then, so they aren’t even breaking the law, regardless of whether or not you feel it is a reasonable law or not. SPD investigated and determined they weren’t in violation of the noise ordinance. Sounds like they’ve tried to make further accommodations.

      I get not wanting hearing loud music, but I do think if you live in a city, particular right next to a commercial zone, noise is part of the package. This is one night a week, for a couple of months, done before the legal quiet hours.

      Not withstanding the history and change in this neighborhood, this is a central neighborhood in a major city right next to a commercial zone, some noise has to be expected and it sounds like it’s in the letter of the law.

      Summer will be over soon.

      • The noise ordinance obligates us to keep our music on our own properties at all times.

        Whether SPD takes action or not is irrelevant. The cops don’t always enforce the law. Sometimes the neighbors have to go to court.

        Living in the city is likewise irrelevant. Some urban neighborhoods are quiet. People who live out in the country sometimes have noise problems.

        Again, how do you justify (illegally) forcing other people to listen to your music?

      • So I didn’t do this, so I don’t have anything to justify.

        I’m also not an expert in our noise ordinances. To my understanding – as based on the information in this article – the party organizers with both in compliance with the time limits and within the allowable decibels (whether or not spd sometimes fails to enforce all laws according to this article they did measure the decibel levels and found the party to be in compliance – ergo no violation for them decline to enforce).

        If you know aspects of the ordinance that are contrary to what was cited in this article – something that clearly says noise must be confined to your own property regardless of time – please feel free to provide.

      • http://www.seattle.gov/police/need-help/noise-complaints

        Look at me I found it myself.

        For loud parties (which would be residential only) there is a distance limit of 75 feet – not “confined to your party”. Also it’s not super clear to me if all these criteria are “ands” or “ors”. I read them as ands – the noise must be frequent and repetitive AND more than 75 feet away AND coming from a residential zone AND occurring outside the quiet hours.

        Furthermore – is LBB residential, is the noise occurring in a residential area? I don’t think it is.

        I get this is annoying. If I lived next door I would probably be annoyed. But I don’t think it’s illegal, and it’s the price you pay to live in a dense urban area.

      • The noise ordinance is on the books, but how often is it actually enforced. When the police do respond to a complaint, it’s often hours later when the noise has stopped. If the noise is still evident, do they actually measure it in decibels? Somehow, I doubt it.

      • According to the article they did. Could that be a lie? Maybe. Could the party organizers turned it down before the cops came? Sure I guess.

        But, at the end of the day this noise is occurring from a mixed use zone and it is being ended at a time deemed reasonable by the city. Upon request, the party organizers appear to be making good faith efforts to mitigate their impact and make sure they are well and truly done by ten.

        This area isn’t a sleepy quiet neighborhood, and I don’t think it ever really has been. If you live in a city, in a central, dense neighborhood that abuts non residential areas, you cannot expect silence. It sounds like the party organizers are being reasonable as to the letter of the law. I emphasize that the last thing one wants to hear at the end of the long day is the thump of loud music you have no control over.

        But there are tradeoffs for the convenience of living in such as centralized area. You sometimes have to put up with what other people decide to do.

  7. I know. It’s a hard question: “How do you justify forcing other people to listen to your music?”

    People who wouldn’t dream of forcing their religious/political opinions on me think it’s OK to force me to listen to their music. I know people who live out in the country and have noise problems with their neighbors. Some city people live in quiet neighborhoods. Some cops don’t care about the noise ordinance. When they fail to act, citizens take matters into their own hands. Bad things happen.

    In a civilized city, people would refrain from forcing their music on their fellow citizens, no matter the hour of day.

    • Look if you don’t like it that’s fine. If you think it’s rude and unneighborly, okay.

      But you were the one that was saying it was illegal, it is demonstrably not.

      Also there may be quiet neighborhoods and there may be rural areas with noise problems, but those are the exceptions not the general rule. You live in a dense neighborhood close to a commercial center – the chances that you are going to have to put up with other people’s noise is higher.

  8. I live a block away. Music was a little on the loud side last Thursday. It was also really good!

    Turn it down a notch (as you are) … but not TOO much. Makes for a nice lively touch for a few summer evenings in this wonderful but sometimes too peaceful city neighborhood!

    • The season is irrelevant. It only takes one jerk to disrupt an entire neighborhood. If you like the music, play it in your own home. Just don’t bother your neighbors, and don’t assume they share your taste for loud public music. There’s no rational justification for forcing it on them. It just causes anger and possibly violence, which we don’t need more of.

      • I’m with Danny; you live in the wrong area.

        When I moved here, I would have loved to have been interrupted once in a while DURING the legal noise hours by people listening to music and having a good time.

        If you weren’t here when our sounds were gunshots, domestic violence fights in the middle of your street, drunk people at 3 am crashing into your car and driving off, you aren’t paying attention to the history around you and the folks trying to make this a better and more diverse to live.

        By saying “keep the music in your own home” which is NOT the law, you are saying “I want to live somewhere that goes by MY rules.” That is not how it works.

  9. We live at 25th and Union. This music series is wonderful to hear. It brings a sense of positivity and community to an increasingly self-minded area. We would love to swing by and join. Does anyone know where we can find out more information? People that are mad don’t seem to care or understand what it means to live in a vibrant neighborhood.

  10. Leave it to Capitol Hill Housing and supporters to turn a simple volume issue into a dissertation on race relations. Actually, the thing they do best. However, their bottom line is sooooo red and has been so red for so long that eventually, it really won’t matter anymore because they won’t own the LL building or any other, for that matter!

    Also, the SPD only takes action if and after someone gets hit AND that hit leaves a mark, other than this, it’s a free for all out there or out here for us. This also comes from the severe lack of leadership and adulthood we are experiencing in this city across all lines of city government, of which CHH is a big part.

    For those not in support of the city the way it is and Capitol Hill Housing they way they are, don’t worry. Eventually it will all implode and we’ll get to start again because that’s where these “leaders” are taking us.

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