Despite pleas from neighbors to reconsider the use of a newly-added patio at Sundance, the Port Washington Common Council approved the addition that now allows the business to play music and serve food and beverage outdoors.
The council voted 6-1, with Ald. Jim Vollmar voting against the decision because of the complaints he's received from neighbors. The conditional use grant allows the business to serve dinner and beverages on the patio until 10 p.m., as well as play music.
"We may be the only ones who are here tonight to speak up, but there are other people in the neighborhood who are frustrated by the noise," said Karina Gross, who's house is across the street from Sundance's driveway. "I think it would be wonderful if they are just strictly looking to have dinner and bring people in and have cocktails … but if they can limit (the hours)."
"I don't have a problem with the dining outside, as long as its concluded at a reasonable time at night … perhaps 10 at night," Karina's husband, Link, said. "What I would have a problem with is loud music and alcohol consumption outside."
Sundance owner Lila Parent, who co-owns the tavern with her husband Pat Montalto, said the business aims to be conscious of it's surroundings.
"We try to have as harmonious an operation as we can," Parent said."(The area is) patrolled, we see patrol officers — we welcome a patrol officer to take care of a situation that isn’t right.
"We designed a very quaint patio, our intent is rather soft. I think it will really fit in very well."
Parent explained the business is looking forward to having "Music on the Green" during afternoons — such as its first soloist booking this Sunday — rather than loud bands that would blare late into the evening.
Neighbors also pointed out that ever sense The Patio has had its outdoor arrangement, the neighborhood has had an increase in problems.
Kyle Kanop, who lives near Sundance and The Patio, said while he thinks Sundance's patio looks really nice, he worries that problems he sees from The Patio — such as loud noise and vulgar language — will become a problem at the new addition.
"If we already have one situation in the neighborhood that's causing grief, why would we add a second one," Karina Gross said.
While aldermen understand the concerns from these neighbors, many worried about giving differential treatment to one business. Neighbors also mentioned that they were hesitant to call the police to avoid being the "squeaky wheel," in Link Gross' words, or in trying to be a "forgiving neighbor," as Kanop said.
But Ald. Paul Neumyer said the lack of police records makes it hard for him to support special limitations.
"If there is a problem you need to call the police, if it gets out of order … call the police," Neumyer said. "There is very little on record showing that we have a problem there. It's kind of hard for us to limit something, when we don’t have a lot of records of problems."