Tenants above fitness studio file lawsuit over noise
The workout music from the Pure Barre fitness studio in downtown Aspen has the owners of the penthouse above it pumped up, but not in a good way.
Chicago-based KN-Aspen Core LLC is suing the proprietor of the Pure Barre franchise at 620 E. Hyman Ave. and seeking an injunction to force the business to lower the “unreasonably loud and annoying music, noise and vibrations” that it claims are seeping into the penthouse.
KN-Aspen lost its effort Wednesday to have a temporary restraining order to immediately have Pure Barre turn down its music. Judge Denise Lynch, in a one-page ruling, denied the request on the grounds that she did not find an emergency existed to put such an order in place.
KN-Aspen Core bought the 3,360-square-foot penthouse for $9 million in February 2015. The remodeled four-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath condo is used for short-term rentals and is advertised for $80,000 a month.
The current tenant, however, “is threatening to prematurely end his tenancy as a direct result of the music, noise and vibrations from Unit 2 (the Pure Barre studio),” alleges the suit, which was filed Tuesday in Pitkin County District Court.
Pure Barre owner Jordan Bullock, the defendant in the suit, said Wednesday she has made good-faith efforts to placate KN-Aspen and its renters by keeping the exercise music at a reasonable level. The business has used a decibel meter to maintain a noise level that is well within the city’s limit of 65 decibels, Bullock said. She said that the meter, when placed in the penthouse roughly 15 months ago, didn’t eclipse the 35-decibel level.
“My music is not loud,” she said. “I have a decibel reader in my studio that we check periodically in my class, in my lobby. Maybe they cross 30 decibels.”
CJ Oliver, the city’s environmental health director, confirmed Bullock’s account, noting that at her and the property manager’s request, he tested the sound levels in December 2015.
“When we were there, (the decibel level) was about 35,” he said. “It’s hard to find a (downtown) space that quiet.”
That noise level is about equal to the sound from a television with a low volume, said Bullock, who has been a tenant in the same location for about seven years.
Pure Barre has daily classes that start at 7:30 a.m. and end at 6:30 p.m.
KN-Aspen’s suit does not cite the city’s noise ordinance, but instead relies on rules from the condominium declaration for what is known as the Tamarawood Building.
“No sound shall be emitted on any part of the project which is unreasonably loud or annoying,” the declaration reads, according to the suit.
The suit continues, “KN-Aspen is only asking to restrain defendant from doing something that she is already prohibited from doing, i.e. emit unreasonably loud or annoying noise. Defendant will still be able to run her business and her customers will still be well-served, but the current and future tenants of the Tamarawood Penthouse will also finally be able to quietly enjoy their stays.”
The suit also argues that the “Tamarawood Penthouse is one of the most unique and exclusive rental properties in Aspen. Because of the defendants’ actions, the Tamarawood Penthouse has demonstrably begun to develop a negative reputation within the Aspen broker community. Prospective tenants are brought to the Tamarawood Penthouse either primarily or entirely through the Aspen broker community; therefore, a negative reputation within that community represents a significant and irreparable loss.”
Litigation over downtown noise is hardly a novelty in Aspen. One of the more high-profile lawsuits involved a married couple who owned an upstairs residence on the so-called restaurant row section on the 300 block of East Hopkins Avenue. The owners, New York married couple Michael Sedoy and Natalia Shvachko, sued a host of defendants over the years, including Aspen Brewing Co. and Bootsy Bellows, which have since relocated to other downtown spots. In early 2016, the couple bought the commercial space, which remains vacant.
Attorneys for KN-Aspen could not be reached for comment Wednesday.