For the second time in two years, Hope Chapel's Easter Sunrise Service was forced to find a new home, this time it will take place on the Pier Plaza in Hermosa Beach, on Sunday, April 21.
Because of permitting restrictions, the service was moved to the lawn of the city's Community Center for the first time in Hope Chapel's 30-plus year history in 2018. The event had taken place on Hope Chapel's private property, which is now home to Lazy Acres market.
While last year's event was deemed a success by the chapel, the City Council was concerned about two official and other noise complaints from residents when they voted 4-1 on Tuesday to uphold a Parks, Recreation and Community Resources Advisory Commission denial of its event application. At its Feb. 4 meeting, the advisory commission approved an application for them to move to the Pier Plaza.
The City Council praised Hope Chapel's “good faith” efforts to eliminate most of the noise concerns, but Councilmembers Justin Massey and Hany Fangary said they received complaints and saw even more on social media.
“If we can have an event that has no complaints, (we can) take that information back from the community and Hope Chapel and see whether or not Pier Plaza is a suitable location for the event going forward,” Massey said.
Councilmember Jeff Duclos was the only no vote because he felt it was a “low impact event.” The two formal complaints dealt with loud noise during the event's sound check that took place between 5:45 and 6 a.m. before the event started at 6 a.m.
Duclos added that Community Center is underutilized while the Pier Plaza is the site of numerous events throughout the year.
“Residents in that area... are already plagued constantly in terms of noise impacts,” Duclos said.
Last year, the Community Center lawn was considered the least intrusive location for an event that attracts hundreds and had amplified entertainment. The Pier Plaza was denied because Our Lady of Guadalupe Church already hosts a Sunrise Service on the same day, same time, south of the pier.
Both events will now be taking place Sunday, April 21, beginning at 6 a.m. Kelly Orta, community resources manager, said Our Lady of Guadalupe Church's event uses a hand-held speaker but no amplified music.
“It's not as impactful, but they do have a level of sound system,” Orta said.
Mayor pro tem Mary Campbell voted to uphold the denial of the application, but feels the Community Center is a better location in the long run when Our Lady of Guadalupe is hosting an event at the same time.
“I think that's less than ideal for both parties,” Campbell said.
When the advisory commission denied the event at the Community Center, they went back to the drawing board and applied for the Pier Plaza and the advisory commission voted to approve that location. But Hope Chapel felt the Community Center was a better fit for their event because of proximity to parking spaces and loading areas, allows easier pick-up and drop offs for attendees, and Vons agreed to allow them to use their parking lot for the event.
So Hope Chapel brought the issue before the City Council, but the council upheld the advisory commission decision even though associate pastors Alan Kisaka and Justin Kalama said they have taken measures to mitigate the noise concerns.
“We're going down to acoustic guitar a couple of mics we’re really paring it down... we're out of there before you know it, before anybody gets up,” Kisaka said.