“We have to coexist”
Community members voice concerns about BVH stadium activity
March 14, 2023
“I love living here, [but] the last few months I don’t love it too much,” Martha Arvizu said.
Arvizu has been living on Baylor Avenue for 21 years. In the past, she enjoyed the view of the purple-orange sunset and the Bonita Vista High (BVH) campus from her balcony. But in recent months her home has been invaded. The culprit: the new BVH track and field stadium.
Arvizu was just one of three homeowners on Baylor Avenue who met with BVH principal Lee Romero on Monday, Feb. 27. Romero heard their concerns about the loud and explicit music being played at the new track and field stadium, the noise level from the crowd stomping on the visitor side bleachers during games and the stadium lights shining into their yards. Romero and the homeowners had multiple meetings regarding these concerns.
“We have to take it, we have to put up with it and I don’t think that’s right,” Arvizu said.
This was the third meeting the homeowners had with Romero about their complaints. The first was on Jan. 13th after a mid-day assembly. However, their concerns resurfaced because of the recent California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) soccer games hosted by BVH on Feb. 15 at the new stadium.
“We didn’t have control on what was being said, but the announcer was yelling because they were excited. The crowds were full, they were cheering and it was really loud. The games went on till nine o’clock at night and they were very upset,” Romero said.
Romero shared his phone number with the homeowners when they first met, so they could communicate with him when stadium activities became too bothersome. He explains that he tries his best to do what he can when the stadium gets too loud during practices.
“When they call me, I tell the coach ‘Hey, someone’s playing [explicit] music there’ and they fix it. [When] it’s too loud, it’s early in the morning. They turn it down,” Romero said.
On the other hand, Athletics Director Tyler Arciaga controls the lights and music of the stadium from the press box. He was the first administrator to have the access codes to control the lights and speakers, before all administrators gained access.
“This is new to them,” Arciaga explained when asked about why the homeowners were complaining. “The district went through the legal practice to be able to build [the stadium].”
In other words, concessions were made to reduce disturbances to the surrounding neighborhoods before construction of the stadium. This includes lowering the field, ensuring the lights and speakers were pointed directly down at the field or straight out and making the stadium half capacity to reduce audience noise levels.
I stood up and thought ‘What is that?’ It took me a few minutes to realize [and] there was glass everywhere”
— Martha Arvizu
“The district did two environmental impact reports to make sure that the sound and lighting wouldn’t drastically affect the neighbors in a negative way. During this study, the neighbors had opportunities to voice their opinions,” Romero said.
The stadium was built with the neighboring communities in mind, but Arvizu still suffered from the activities on the field. She explains that two small pieces of concrete were thrown at her bedroom balcony door which shattered one layer of glass. The incident happened on a Monday, five to 10 minutes before 5 p.m. lacrosse practice. The damages to replace her door will cost her $5253 to repair.
“I stood up and thought ‘What is that?’ It took me a few minutes to realize [and] there was glass everywhere,” Arvizu said. “For this to have happened, it needed to be [a] strong [throw].”
Arvizu has filed a report with the Chula Vista Police Department. She speculates that it was not an accident because two pieces of concrete were thrown at her door. Still, the most persistent problem she faces is the noise level. She explains that even with the double glass pane doors and windows closed, the music from the stadium still shakes her house.
“I can live with the stomping, [but] the speakers are ridiculous,” Arvizu said.
The Crusader recorded the noise level of the stadium with a decibel meter during a boys’ Lacrosse game on March 3. From the middle of the street on Baylor Avenue, the noise level was 95 dB. According to the San Diego Hearing Center, exposure to 85dB within 8 hours can cause hearing damage. The volume was of special concern during the Feb. 15 CIF soccer game.
“The volume was turned up and that was pretty loud. It doesn’t bother us but it does bother the neighbors, that’s one of their complaints,” Mark Tighe said.
Tighe has been living on Baylor Avenue for 14 years. He has coached baseball at BVH and has two sons who have attended and are currently attending BVH. In contrast to Arvizu, he attended the meeting with Romero to gain more information on BVH’s stance on the situation, not to express a complaint.
“We’re excited about it because the students deserve it. The coaches there deserve it, the community deserves it. Even the visiting teams deserve a nice field to come on to when we play,” Tighe said.
While he is understanding of the need for a football stadium, Tighe explains that he still has some reservations about the disturbances caused by the games. In the past, he said that a DJ playing explicit music at a freshman football game was “obnoxious” and he understands his neighbors’ concerns.
“It’s not bad, but it’d be nice to have one night a week, to enjoy our backyards without lights blaring into our backyards,” Tighe explains.
Romero would like the neighbors to understand that he doesn’t have much control over the noise of the audience during a game or the speakers and the lights. He explains that there will be signs put up on the visitor side of the stadium asking the audience to mind the noise, but the activities will inevitably continue because BVH students deserve to enjoy the field.
“Their houses are next to a school and schools have events that are going to be loud. I want to be a good neighbor and I feel for them, but my hands are tied. As a principal, my primary responsibility is for the students in the school, then comes everything else,” Romero said.
On both sides of the fence, Romero and the homeowners are understanding of the situation. They acknowledge that they are a part of the community and must share the space with BVH, but their concerns still stand.
“I don’t want this to be us against them,” Arvizu said. “I invite them to come, stand here and listen to this. Because we have to coexist.”