Lakewood Addresses Noise Concerns

LAKEWOOD — An amendment to Lakewood’s local zoning law that will tentatively be enforced to regulate excessive and unreasonable noises, the first proposed law of 2019 in the village, was passed unanimously by the village board of trustees.

Pending approval of the Chautauqua County Planning Board, something trustees expect to come without issue, there will be new rules for village residents and business owners to follow concerning amplified and late-night noise.

Multiple individuals made their concerns known at a public hearing Monday during the regular village meeting.

Lakewood resident Tom Marlinski said that music played outdoors, particularly on the deck of Craft Burgers & Brews, during the summer months has bothered him at night.

“Everybody likes to come here because it’s nice peace and quiet,” Marlinski said.

He expressed disappointment with how businesses will be able to play music in large sets outside as long as music groups are not amplified. From 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, music will be allowed to be played through sound reproduction devices as long as the sounds cannot be heard more than 100 feet away and in residential districts.

In the retail district, amplified music is allowable indoors only from 1-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-8 p.m. Sunday. Unamplified music can be played indoors and outdoors from 1-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-8 p.m. Sunday. Other provisions of the ordinance detail how fines will be used to enforce the ordinance by the Lakewood-Busti Police Department.

“Our music has never gone beyond 11 o’clock,” said Michelle Turner, co-owner of Group Ther-Happy. “We will do our best to abide by the rules the village sets forth.”

Deputy Mayor Ted McCague said no formal complaints have been filed against Group Ther-Happy. He added that the village zoning committee had looked into what would seem fair to both residents and business owners for several months.

“The struggle that we had was that we wanted to ensure for our residents the peace and quiet that is characteristic of Lakewood,” McCague said, “but we had to balance that with the plan to nurture our Chautauqua Avenue businesses … that use music to draw in the customers.”

Ryan Thayer, owner of Craft Burgers & Brews, was told that his building’s deck is considered outdoors. The ordinance does not permit live, amplified outdoor music to be performed at any time.

“That was a hard decision,” McCague said.

Thayer said he understood the board’s decision and declined to make a case for keeping amplified outdoor music in the village.

Marlinski described how he had not been able to use the back rooms of his house due to noise levels when amplified music would be played outdoors. Special permits can be requested for events and holiday programming, however, including amplified outdoor musical performances for the Fourth of July holiday for example.

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