Owners of Larsa Banquet Hall Suing Residential Neighbors for At Least $500k

Jonathan McCorkell/TurlockCityNews.com

The owners of Larsa Banquet Hall, located just outside the City of Turlock at 2017 E. Monte Vista Ave., are suing a pair of residential neighbors for at least what they claim to be $500,000 in loss of business, plus punitive damage, and they have filed an injunction to stop further complaints by the neighbors about loud music coming from the hall.

Larsa Banquet Hall is a well-known location for events such as weddings, receptions, birthday celebrations and other social events.

The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, Diocese of California Religious Corporation, which owns Lara Banquet Hall, is suing Pat and Gary Toombs, and Kevin and Tracee Storms who live on Amethyst Way, about 600 feet west of Larsa.

Between Amethyst Way and Larsa Hall there is a retaining wall and a corn field.

The neighbors’ attorney, Dan Farrar, says the lawsuit is simply an attempt to silence neighbors from complaining to authorities about decibel levels and, in particular the bass, which his clients claim rattles their windows and disturbs their peace in their own homes.

In the injunction documents, Larsa Hall manager and director of maintenance Kurk Royel wrote, “It has become clear that the defendants are not driven by a desire to avoid having their peace disturbed. Their goal is to have the Hall shut down simply because they don’t like it being there. Filing false police reports to achieve that goal is unacceptable.”

In a motion to strike the lawsuit Farrar wrote, “The complaint serves as a warning to any other neighbors that if they complain about Larsa Hall they will face a lawsuit seeking over $500,000 in damages plus punitive damages plus an injunction against ever speaking out again.”

Larsa Hall Could Lose Permit with County

Under the provisions of Larsa’s conditional use permit with the Stanislaus County Planning Commission, should there be a minimum of four confirmed noise complaints made against them by Oct. 17, 2014, the Planning Commission would institute proceedings to remove their permit.

Clearly the loss of the permit, in Larsa Hall’s own words, “would inevitably result in the closure of the Hall and the irreparable harm of its certain loss through the foreclosure process.”

Between May 10 and Aug. 31 there were several complaints made by the Toombs and Storms to Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, nearly all of them after 9:30 p.m. until nearly midnight.

In a report from a Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy on May 10, the deputy wrote, “I stopped my patrol vehicle approximately 500 feet from the main entrance of Larsa Hall. That is when I could hear the bass from the music at a low volume.” However he later wrote “At the conclusion of my contacts, I do not believe the music was at intolerable level. Therefore, I did not cite the manager at Larsa Hall with a noise complaint."

A county ordinance (10.46.060(D)) states that live or amplified music should not be heard more that 200 feet from the source.

In subsequent reports deputies indicated they could not hear or determine if there was any music.

“All my clients want is for Larsa Hall to turn down the bass so they don’t have to lay in bed at night with the windows vibrating and bass music pulsating through their house,” said Farrar.

On-going Complaints From Neighbors

Farrar’s clients aren’t the only neighbors to complain about Larsa Hall. On Nov. 21, 2013, at a Stanislaus County Planning Commission meeting, fellow Amethyst Way residents including Brad Christian, Michael McGee, Dave Vandenberg and Associate Planner with the City of Turlock Katie Quintero all spoke about their complaints and issues regarding noise coming from Larsa Hall.

The Planning Commission unanimously agreed to table the discussion for six months.

On April 17 of this year, many of the same people voiced their complaints again to the Planning Commission, who again unanimously agreed to table the discussion until this October in order to give Larsa Hall a chance to correct any problems they may have with neighbors.

There is a Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Oct. 17 and Nov. 6, however no agenda has been published as of yet.

Even Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christensen is noted by Farrar, who wrote in his motion to dismiss, “On September 6, 2014 Sheriff Christianson, apparently aware of the issues between Larsa Hall and the neighbors, came to the neighborhood on his own initiative. His report… confirms he heard bass music while parked on Amethyst Way.

“Defendants have legitimate, verified concerns that are part of an on-going public debate and they will not be bullied by a commercial enterprise seeking to protect its money-making operation,” Farrar wrote in his motion to dismiss.
 

Comments 51

  1. Laura Riddell says:
    So rather than dial it back a notch this place would rather sue you? Hummm, does not sound like good neighbors to me. If it is making your windows rattle, how can people even talk without shouting inside? Get over it, Banquet Hall needs to either be a good neighbor or face being shut down. How is that hard to understand?
  2. Larsa Hall says:
    How did they get permitted for a social hall in a residential area. Do they have a church there? They were permitted and approved for a church not a social hall. If they don't have a church there, then should tear it down. Poor Pam and Gary
  3. oodi says:
    Just parking on Amethyst Way to see if you can hear the noise from Larsa does not give an accurate account of the actual noise level inside the homes, as the houses themselves act as a buffer. Most of the bedrooms are on the east side of those homes, and therefore that much closer to the actual source of the noise and with little to no obstructions. In addition, those with bedrooms on a second floor will hear the noise more than on the first floor. These factors should have been taken into account before any deputy decides what is "tolerable" for those that have to live with it.
  4. Turlocker says:
    Wow a Church threatening people with lawsuits insane when does a church care more about money then people and community. This is the reason many young people are walking away from the churches. This church should be ashamed.
  5. kelly higgins says:
    More power to you Toombs/Storms! I live by Sacred Heart and am always in awe of how much they don't care how much their very loud music disturbs this neighborhood! 2 closest neighbors are elderly, just fyi. My windows DO shake at times as well and I hate to admit it here but I have called non-emergency at 11pm in the past to complain about the noise coming from there. I fully believe you are having the same challenges! Several years ago I was told they were moving the events from this church out to the Monte Vista location so imagine my surprise that just this summer I have been continually irritated ...
  6. Amo says:
    As a former manager of Larsa, when it first opened, we spent thousands of dollars installing sound barriers and even used a meter to control sound. Also last time I checked we live in a capitolist society so yes money over hones wins almost every time. Just ask the Supreme Court. Larsa is also on the edge of town in the country. To bad home owners, your lucky it wasn't a Walmart.
  7. Big deal... says:
    How often do they even have events at the Larsa Hall? Isn't it mainly used for wedding receptions for when it's loud... there're like one wedding two max a week.
  8. Mary says:
    It's a big deal when you're the one trying to sleep because you have to work in the morning.
  9. Amy says:
    They should remove that cross off the building… or keep it, and cover it with gold and diamonds.
  10. oodi says:
    To Amo,

    Spent thousands of dollars????? Not very smart, when it costs NOTHING to turn the volume down.

    To Big deal,

    No, it isn't just used for weddings. It is also used for private parties, concerts and many other events. In fact, according to their own Facebook page, they have events on a daily basis. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=646977378707654&id=118773501528047
  11. Bad Neighbors says:
    Turlock Ballroom are also awful neighbors. They play loud music, send drunk people parking all over the area, hire unprofessional security and repeatedly tell their rude and obnoxious guests to park on private property after being asked for years not to. I don't see anyone making a big stink about them though, probably because they are located on the bad side of town.
  12. Larsa Hall says:
    Seems to me that these people are athesiest...perhaps if there wasn't a cross on the building they would be ok with this place standing.
  13. Lilly says:
    Seems to me that these people are athesiest..perhaps if there wasn't a cross on the building they would be ok with this place standing.
  14. Patricia McGee says:
    It's really sad anyone would take something so far as to try and close down a banquet hall. Larsa Banquet Hall is a hall being used for multiple purposes. There are events like birthdays, weddings, funerals and church services. This is a great hall to have for the community. If this place shuts down where can someone find a hall in town that accommodates so many guests? It is sad to say, but this is why this town doesn't have much because it's people like the Toombs/Storms who complain about businesses that are actually helping the community. How can one or two events a week be such a big deal for these people? To the person who mentions that they have events everyday….so what? Are they not entitled to have an event everyday? I didn’t think that it was illegal to have a funeral or birthday party on any given day. Also, if the music is so high…how come there aren’t other people complaining? How come the people accompanying the house directly across from Larsa are not experiencing rattling windows???? Hmm…seems to me that these people are just trying to stop Turlock from making profit and revenue. Do these people not realize that every time Larsa has an event catering companies, hotels, restaurants, florists, decorators, etc. are all making profit? Perhaps the Toombs and Storms would prefer Larsa to close down, so that they can list the property and make profit…considering they are real estate agents. I think the community needs to wake up and realize that the Toombs and Storms are out to get Turlock. This doesn’t seem like a personal problem with Larsa, it seems like they are more self absorbed and would like to see all of the local businesses to experience the loss of having Larsa around. I have been to a few events at Larsa Hall, including the NRA event, the Mayor’s breakfast and a wedding a few years ago. All three events that I attended were remarkable. The Larsa staff was great and the venue is large and can accommodate many people. It makes me very sad to know that these bitter people would like to shut down a place that makes so many people happy.
  15. Morgan says:
    Great hall what a shame to have such neighbors. Do these people not realize a church service is held there every Sunday and they have over a 1,000 members..
  16. people are spoiled says:
    God forbid a business actually survives in the Central Valley before someone complains like spoiled brats.
  17. Member of the church says:
    I cannot believe we are living in a community with such rude people!!! All of you trying to shut down Larsa hall need to know that to us Assyrians and us members of the church not only see it as a place to come together and praise God but also a place where we can call people family! It aches my heart seeing these disrespectful people talking such things about our home! Go ahead try and shut us down but with the power of God we can overcome all of you people trying to bring us down! And for the two families complaining about the noise looks like everyone else is Deaf around that area because they don't seem to hear any noise! Have a nice day to all God bless each and every one of you!
  18. Central Valley says:
    How pathetic can these people be? We need more businesses like Larsa. I agree with the poster above. God forbid anything survives in the Central Valley. We have a bunch of lame people who just want places to close. Shame on these nasty people.
  19. Concerned citizen says:
    If these noise issues are such a problem, why were they not addressed before this hall was built? I know that I have issues with noise where I live, since I work graveyard and the neighbor across the street plays loud music every sat night and I am trying to sleep. He doesn't care and like clockwork I get woke up every sat night. He doesn't understand english or I would talk to him to turn it down please. Usually before something is built all parties get a say at a council meeting, but i know how that goes, the one with the money wins..
  20. Neighbor says:
    They have only asked to have the bass turned down. That's it! Nothing more.
  21. Monte Vista says:
    This is about BASS not RACE.
  22. Funny says:
    Toombs and Storms are mother and daughter so it's no wonder why they teamed up and Pat Toombs is a cranky old lady!!! Have any of the other neighbors complained?
  23. Turlocker Churches non profit status says:
    So this is run by the Church for profit I wonder does that mean they still claim the selves as a non profit organization. Also churches are not supposed to be for profit nor are they supposed to be businesses. They are for GOD who ever that may be and to help people not become richer bah this is why I do not go to Church anymore. Also the most important thing is this is a residential area not down town people need to sleep and work. Corporations preaching about GOD and then threatening to sue lol only in Turlock.
  24. Steve Edwards says:
    In what is supposedly a civilized society, the management of Larsa Hall is attempting to set a chilling precedent. If people cannot complain about their noisy neighbors for fear of retribution, than something is very wrong. Surely it should be up to the police to decide if these complaints are out of line or legitimate. It is not up to those who are creating the disturbances to judge what is an acceptable grievance. #SLAPP
  25. hmmm says:
    I have a feeling there is more to the story than just someone asking them to be quiet and then suing.
  26. Larsa Worker says:
    As a Larsa Employee I have heard the complaints and witnessed first hand everything thats going on. I can barley hear the noise from the parking lot, let alone by the gate at the front where the house that is making these complaints is located, yet there seems to be complaints every weekend. These people are just out to get Larsa and it is very sad because this is a big business thats truly stimulating turlocks economy, not only do we bring in a lot of business but this is also my church and I can truly say that this banquet hall is my home and everyone there is like my family. I would truly be devastated if we lost this church and I'm sure many others would be too.
  27. Flabbergasted says:
    I think some should reread the article. They state there has been several complaints from several people . Also why would they be "after" Turlock when they choose to live in Turlock ? If they had something against this town wouldn't it just be easier for them to move elsewhere? I do not believe their complaints are about Larsa hall having events but about how those events effect their lives. This hall is not the only one that has this issue. So it is not about it being a church or about the race of people that attend. I believe Pagoe lavender farms has had some of the same issues. Larsa would not be happy if their neighbors decided to have an event every Sunday that was so loud it would disturb services. Or if they decided to trim trees during a wedding vows. So why wouldn't Larsa Hall respect people around them. There are noise ordinance that should be enforced for city and county. If you know you plan on an event that will be loud and go late maybe find a venue that is away from residential areas . They do exsist. That is exactly what we did for my daughters wedding a few weeks ago. Not everything makes a lawsuit. Good luck Larsa Hall area residents.
  28. McKenzie says:
    This is very funny to me. I was at the Sherifs event that is hosted annually at Larsa. There was absolutely no music playing. Just the Sherifs department, family, friends and attendees. However, I heard from one of the Sherrifs that they got a call about Larsa hall having music. The sheriff was very pissed off that a false report was being made. In fact the whole Sherifs department was very upset about this. Seems to me that these people are out to get Larsa...and the whole community. To the person who commented "Also why would they be "after" Turlock when they choose to live in Turlock ? If they had something against this town wouldn't it just be easier for them to move elsewhere?" Ask yourself how easy is it for someone to just pick and move? You all should research these con artists. I sure have...they are into commercial real estate according to their Facebook. Perhaps they just want Larsa to close so they can turn around and make profit. Either way I see no fault in Larsa. I just see a bunch of neighbors that want to be pests.
  29. Jeff says:
    These neighbors need to take a hike. Get a life, do something for themselves. Sleep with ear plugs. Play your own loud music....Just get over your pathetic selves. It would be no surprise to me if they started to complain about the traffic on Monte Vista. Or perhaps the train that "rattles" them. hahah this is hilarious!!! Bitter old people for ya....
  30. Jay says:
    It's a business and business have to be considerate to the neighbors. If they are making a profit, they should be treated no differently than Walmart. Hiding behind God as a defense to maximize profits and not taking the neighborhood in consideration is absurd. Can't wait for the counter claim.
  31. Sarah Anderson says:
    Why are they making false reports? The article mentions they are. The comment above also suggests that they made a false report at the Sherif event. That is not fair if they are just reporting for the heck of it.
  32. Jay says:
    Am I not defending the people who are making false claims and they should be ashamed of themselves for wasting law enforcements time and energy. At the same time, those false claims do not automatically void the legitimate claims. Also, hearing a tax exempt organization that is making a profit suing the tax paying community for lost profits is laughable, and again absurd. Just think about it, a church is suing the community?!? Really?
  33. truth says:
    In this article officer stated he heard music 500 feet away and according to law it shouldn't reach 200 feet the county ordinance is the law so abide by it the cop that refused to do something about it is apparently a cop who doesn't uphold the law and should be subject to discipline
  34. Monte Vista says:
    I agree with Jay. False claims cannot void the legitimate claims of which there have been many. It is concerning that some of the people in this thread so easily believe that there have been false claims made.

    One commenter “McKinsie” wrote that they attended an event for the Sheriff’s Department and that there was a false claim about the noise made that evening. McKenzie wrote, “In fact the whole Sherifs [sic] department was very upset about this.”

    If this were the case, wouldn’t the sheriff’s department have done something about these claims that evening? Surely they would come down hard on anyone attempting to waste police time in this way.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I smell a few rats within some of these comments. Perhaps they are friends of Larsa’s management.

    When all is said and done, Larsa Hall just needs to turn their music down so that hard working people near them can sleep and contribute in a much more positive way to society.
  35. This is Outrageous says:
    The church location also pays $500,000-$600,000 in taxes yearly--according to financial records. So, are they not entitled to sue a couple of cowards that are falsifying claims to the law enforcement? Are they not allowed to host events without these nasty people calling the law enforcement every time the lights turn on at the facility. Every time there is an event at Larsa these people are calling. Whether it is a funeral (no music), wedding (music) or an event that has NO music. It is BS!!!!! Just google it there are RECORDS of this law suit and the times they have called and the decibel reading diagnostics and almost every time they are FALSE!!!!! I was reading the case online and I even saw that a company was hired to do a sound diagnostic and NOTHING was wrong!!!!!! Trust me if you were in there position and you were loosing hundreds of thousands of dollars in business because the Toombs and Storms are convincing everyone in Turlock to stop business with them...you would also sue these people. Just look up the Toombs and Storms online...their Facebooks and Twitter accounts where they have noted accounts of slandering Larsa and trash talking to the community about Larsa. Seems to me that they are just interested in ONE thing...the satisfaction of having Larsa closed down...which leads me to believe that this is NOT a sound issue...it is a race issue. They are after Larsa because the church and community of Larsa is Middle Eastern. Seems that way to me. For all of you who do not know what is going on...head down to the police or sheriffs department they will all fill you in on how many times these people have falsely made phone calls..and law enforcement came out to NOTHING!!!!!! God help these people and there false accusations. By the way I am a real estate agent...and I myself have tried to work with Pam and her husband countless of times....each and every time they have NEVER tried to work with me! Perhaps it is because I am Hispanic...maybe they just have a race issue. If i were Larsa I would make sure that I continue with this law suit and not allow these people to close down a successful money making business in Turlock. Good luck Larsa!
  36. Business says:
    For all of you VERY educated people. Larsa hall is a business not a non-profit!!! They do pay taxes.
  37. truth says:
    They should've thought about it before building so close to a residential neighborhood I know I wouldn't want a night club right next to my house
  38. Bad neighbors says:
    Larsa Hall is not suing the community. They are suing the Toombs. False claims have been made as well as maybe some legit ones. With that being said I don't think the hall is suing for the sake of money maybe because these neighbors have taken this out of line? Anyone ever thought of that?!? Their has been many more false claims made then legit ones it seems like if it has come to this point. This issue is much bigger then what's being told in this article. This is what these garbage neighbors deserve for making this businesse miserable for the past years..the money being made at Larsa is FOR CHURCH do people not get that either?? It all gos to church. Just like The House or Monte Vista chapel just because neither own a church hall doesn't make them great or bad because they earn their money differently. Based on personal experience from times I have gone to The House Modesto that used to be Calvery Temple they are always asking for money. What about these religious channels?? All you hear left in right is them asking for money! Reality money is what runs the world. Churches need money to stay standing and we all know that so let's stop acting like this church is horrible and not a church and get over yourselves and realize you all know everything needs $ and this isn't what this issues about its about these low lives trying to shut down a hall because the princess and prince can't sleep at night it's out of line...events take place once to twice a week most on weekends. It's more then just Larsa it sucks for other businesses Djs..florists..everyone who benefits but because the Toombs and their stuck up daughter and husband decide they are un happy like to team up and get others going against a place when those people before never had a problem. It's low of these people they should be ashamed. If I were them I would move out of town just to clean up my name.
  39. Church member says:
    To Guest Monte Vista: a few rats?!? Please! You are one yourself sweetheart this church has over a thousand members. They have a youth group. They have staff. They have a huge amazing Assyrian community behind them.. This isn't a one person job but that's funny you think that. It's more then that we are ONE and we will stand up and defend our church our hall.
  40. TRUTH says:
    "They should've thought about it before building so close to a residential neighborhood I know I wouldn't want a night club right next to my house" This just made me laugh!!!!! If the city approved it...what is it your business where the location is???? Apparently the city is ok with it. Perhaps these people should just get over it.
  41. Ghossin says:
    Neighbors deserve to be sued. They are explicitly harassing a business center. This huge center generates millions of dollars paid as taxes to the city of Turlock annually. Thus, causing a bid of an ease, and a big savings for all neighbors relieving them from higher property taxes. Those neighbors should be ashamed of themselves and should apologies to the officials of Larasa.
  42. God says:
    1 Corinthians 6:7 ESV
    To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?


    1 Corinthians 6:1-20 ESV
    When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,
  43. God says:
    Matthew 6:24 ESV / 2 helpful votes

    “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
  44. God says:
    Luke 6:37 ESV

    “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
  45. God says:
    Proverbs 25:8 ESV / 2 helpful votes

    Do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame?
  46. God says:
    1 John 3:18 - My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
  47. God says:
    #1 Because we are sinners we should forgive others
    Matthew 6:14-15 NIV
    For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
    #2 Be ready to forgive over and over again
    Matthew 18: 21-22 NIV
    Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
  48. Turlock Resident says:
    Just to make things clear Larsa pays thousands of dollars in personal and property taxes, it also employs anywhere between 20-30 local high school and college students this gets them off the streets on the weekend not only that Larsa does business local vendors and keeps people employed why would someone like the Toombs want hurt a business and hurt all these people that benefit from these events instead they should put there energy into trying to stop the speedy traffic that wakes us up EVERY NIGHT on Monte Vista that is just a few feet away from the Toombs home. Larsa committee has invited the neighbors including the Toombs and myself and explained to us how they were working on finding a resolution to this problem a sound engineer has been around during events on several occasions he walks up and down the streets taking noise measurements. I have been at fundraising events where there is no music and the sheriff has come by Larsa due to false complaints by the Toombs. The only thing I can make of this is that they are prejiduce and are continuously harassing the Assyrian community which is unacceptable. I hope this helps clear some of the questions fellow citizens have.
  49. God says:
    Ephesians 4:32 ESV /

    Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
  50. Millions...out of your mind...... says:
    1st this place does not generate millions for Turlock.. Someone needs to stop exaggerating just a bit. Maybe just a little..
    2nd people have got to stop making this about religion or Assyrians or anything other than what this is about.

    Several neighbors have complained about the noise level at this hall. It might bother a certain group of neighbors more than others but the fact is several neighbors have complained. Whether they are over reacting or not SEVERAL neighbors have complained.

    Larsa group has got to quit kidding themselves. It's not like the only events being held here are church events or police functions or anything else that does not create noise.

    I have seen quiceareras and wedding and b- day parties where the music is considerably loud. I wouldn't say you could hear it from the street or the nearest neighborhood but then again I was not paying that close attention to it.

    Solution... Don't try and see how loud you can get the music before someone complains.. Just turn it down a notch.

    No need to defend your church... No one is attacking it. Get of the high horse with the millions you think this place generates for Turlock.... Laughable
  51. God says:
    Colossians 3:8 ESV /

    But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

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