The San Francisco Entertainment Commission will decide today whether to grant a limited live performance (LLP) permit to Casa Sanchez, a taqueria on 24th and York streets.
The permit will make legal what Casa Sanchez has been doing for three years: hosting eclectic live afternoon shows every weekend during the summer. Marta Sanchez, who owns and operates Casa Sanchez with her family, has used the shows as fundraisers to help families in need.
Until recently, entertainment permits have cost too much for smaller businesses to afford.
A regular “place of entertainment” permit costs $585 per year plus a $1,744 application fee, regardless of the venue, said Jocelyn Kane, executive director of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the limited type of permit in August, and businesses have been able to apply for it since December.
The LLP permit costs $129 per year, with a $385 application fee. It is available to establishments like Casa Sanchez, whose primary use is not entertainment. It requires that the performance space be under 200 square feet and that shows end by 10 p.m.
Kane said the LLP permit would help cafes and restaurants become a “third space” for customers — an alternative to home or work.
“Live music is important; we want places to have a way to make a few extra bucks,” she said.
When regulars heard that Casa Sanchez was applying for a permit, they personally put together a petition in support, gathering 300 signatures in a single weekend.
Not everyone is happy about the proposed permit. Since August of 2011, a nearby resident, who would not give his name, has complained weekly about the volume, calling the police on multiple occasions to stop the shows, according to Sanchez.
The neighbor said the noise was so bad that it made phone conversations inside his house impossible. “If they just played on a piano, it’s not that loud. When they amplify, it’s cruddy,” he said.
Sanchez said that once when the police arrived they “expected insanity,” only to be greeted by “children and their grandmothers.”
Sanchez said officers once told her that “they would come back after their shift.”
On another occasion in late August, Casa Sanchez held a show to raise money to repaint the exterior of the complaining neighbor’s house without asking him beforehand. Police showed up halfway through the show at the neighbor’s request, and the house was never repainted.
Sanchez responded to the persistent complaints by applying for the permit.
Nicolas King, deputy director of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, said that “outdoor regular amplified sound does need a permit” — the LLP permit covers only indoor shows.
Sanchez met with a small group of residents who took issue with the volume of the taqueria’s live shows, and agreed to hold them indoors.
When asked whether she thought she would obtain the permit, Sanchez said, “I feel fairly comfortable and confident.”