BEACH LOTS – It was 10:30 p.m. on Saturday in March and one neighbor, walking his dog, could hear two or three forklifts beeping as they backed up.
It was dark out so they were honking at one another to communicate, he said. Homes were only a couple dozen feet away.
This was the winding down of an all-day Nike event held at one of City Hall’s Ocean Avenue parking lots. The event angered local residents and led to new guidelines that, among other things, will mean the Independent Spirit Awards will need to find a new home.
Set-up for the Nike Training Club started with jackhammering in the early morning and ended with the aforementioned forklift beeps. In the middle was noisy generators, traffic, temporary lights shining into the windows of homes, and loud bass-driven music directed at homes, according to city officials.
The parking lot might need to be resurfaced soon thanks to large holes jack-hammered into the asphalt by event organizers.
It was, according to some residents, the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“City staff, as well as City Council members, received numerous complaints from south beach neighbors and merchants in the area who were impacted by the event set up and event day activities,” city officials said in a release.
As a response, City Hall revised a number of its guidelines for private events at the beach parking lots.
For one thing, event organizers are no longer allowed to drill into parking lot asphalt. Drilling was previously allowed for groups like the Independent Spirit Awards, who drilled holes to erect their tents but always sufficiently patched them up.
Set-up, clean up, and the event itself must occur between 8 a.m. and dusk. Previously, event organizers could show up with their trucks and jackhammers at 7 a.m. and clean up until 10 p.m.
Events will be held less frequently; once a month in the fall, spring, and winter. They won’t be held in the summer.
The Independent Spirit Awards have been taking over the 2030 Ocean Ave. lot – where the Nike event was held – for 13 days every year for the past 15 years. Their event no longer conforms to City Hall’s regulations. The movie award show had already gotten City Hall approval for their 2015 show, so they will be allowed to stay one more year. But after that they’ll have to find a new location.
Sue Miller, whose home abuts the lot, can’t specifically remember the Nike ordeal but is regularly bothered by private events.
“I am very impacted by all of that,” she said. “They’re making money on all of it and they don’t care about the residents. I know people who have moved away because it is too loud down there. I can’t even open my windows.”
Miller said she’s given up complaining because she doesn’t even know who to reach out to.
“It is clear to staff that the negative impacts of large scale events in the south beach parking lots outweigh the benefits of having these types of events in these particular three beach parking lots,” city officials said.