Tonight, March 10, a request by the HopMonk Tavern to allow more amplified music and later performance hours will be heard by the Planning Commission. The 6:30 p.m. meeting will be broadcast live on SunTV 27 and sonomasuntv.com.
Dean Biersch, owner of the 691 Broadway venue, wants to offer amplified music until 10 p.m. and extend hours of the beer garden. But what’s good for business sounds to neighbors like a lot of noise.
“We recognize we are in a mixed commercial residential neighborhood and have carefully considered the proximity of our neighbors with this proposal,” Biersch said in his application. “We anticipate producing free music for beer garden guests during weekend days and evenings as weather permits.
The property was preceded by Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, which battled with neighbors over the noise issue. After heated public meetings, the business eventually was granted permission to present a limited schedule of live acoustic music.
Bierch’s proposal would not cap the number of performances. Amplified music, the volume of which would still be subject to the city’s noise ordinance, would go until 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday. Thursday through Saturday nights, the cut off would be midnight.
Extending service hours in the outdoor beer garden, and erecting taller fences around the area, are also part of the proposal.
The property is flanked by a residential neighborhood. Residents who came out in force against loud music at Emmy’s are again mobilizing.
Opponent Beth Harper said the proposed changes violate the city’s general plan promise that “residents enjoy peace, quiet and security.” For another neighbor, it comes down to “
“The controversies generated over permits for music at Emmy’s and events at the Dance School taught us that one person’s music is another person’s noise,” said neighbor Kassandra Miller. “Those of us who are permanent residents should not be subjected to noise that intrudes on our space and prevents us from enjoying our homes and yards.”
Bierch said that the tavern has hosted some 25 performances since opening six months ago. “We have had zero complaints from the neighborhood about sound or anything else. We think this is notable; not a single complaint about parking noise, garbage,or general disturbance.”
“We believe that we can and will continue to demonstrate responsible handling of our operation,” he said.
City staff will recommend to the commission that a compromise plan, including setting a cap on the number of music shows, be adopted for a six-month trial period.
The Planning Commission meeting will be held in the Community Meeting Room, 177 Fist St. W.