Though issues of parking, lights and sewer runoff are volleyed about, it’s clear the hang up between neighbors and a planned expansion to a local restaurant centers around noise.
An online informational meeting Wednesday night between stakeholders of Leon’s Garage at the corner of East Fifth and Oak streets and neighbors in the area saw a few concessions offered, but at its heart some families in the area do not believe an outdoor music venue belongs in a residential neighborhood.
The plans for the $2.5 million expansion impact the city block that houses Leon’s and the adjoining House of Spirits. When finished, the project would increase the size of Leon’s, add a new building for a brewery operation and create a campus where outdoor music could be offered. Plans for the Leon’s expansion show a retractable door/stage area and elevated speakers for what owners say would be infrequent outdoor events.
“My mom, Patricia Croy, has lived on Walnut Street for 64 years,” Kelly Croy posted in written statements accompanying the meeting. “She has seen a lot of changes on that street, but nothing quite like this.”
Three children of 90-year-old Patricia Croy have been the most vocal opponents of the project, despite business owners Bruce Daniels and Rick Crago coming to the meeting with plans to help minimize the impact on residents.
Architect Craig Gossman, of Gossman Group Design and Planning, explained that an 8-foot fence will be installed on the west side of the campus, extending along an alley down to Fourth Street and the brewery building. Original plans had been for a 6-foot fence, but Kelly Croy, whose mother’s property backs up to the west side of the campus, said a 10-foot fence would be better.
Gossman also showed results of a study and explained that the business had made decisions on its external illumination so as not to bleed light over onto the property of neighbors.
But the conversation routinely veered back to noise.
“I just want to say I appreciate the accommodations that Bruce and Rick have made for this project, but I do worry about the outdoor music venue,” Kathy Croy wrote. “This is still a concern without anything in writing and without a noise ordinance.”
Marysville has no existing noise ordinance and the idea of creating one has come up in previous meetings about the expansion. Two city officials taking part in the meeting seemed to have different opinions on the matter.
Council member Donald Boerger, who lives very close to the area, said the city’s elected officials are committed to putting noise regulations in place.
“There will be a noise ordinance,” Boerger said. “It will be implemented.”
City administrator Terry Emery, however, seemed less certain. While he agreed noise needs to be monitored, he felt the city might be committing to legislation before a problem materializes.
Emery said the city law director is gathering sample noise ordinances from municipalities, but he is also talking with cities that do not have such regulations. Some areas that use decibel meters to monitor noise reported frustration in getting tangled up in regulations, Emery said.
Others, such as Grandview, report better success by bringing businesses and residents together to talk through their differences, he said. Emery added that the city currently has enforceable laws about disturbing the peace that could be applied to loud outdoor music.
“We are looking at all aspects of the impacts and how we can address those areas,” Emery said. “We want our uptown to be a place that people want to go to … we think we’re accomplishing that.”
Emery also addressed on-street parking for residents in the area, saying residents of Oak Street will see more reserved spaces.
“We’ll probably at least double that,” Emery said.
Daniels said residents can trust that the owners are conscientious of the community. He said he and Crago won’t disrespect their neighbors by hosting “crazy parties” to all hours of the night.
“We haven’t done it to date and we don’t plan on starting it,” Daniels said.
This issue will come before design review board on Aug. 12 for evaluation of the plans, but the expansion does not need approval of city council because the operation falls within the permitted uses based on zoning for its location.
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