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Village board addresses noise complaints involving new music venues

August 5, 2013

LAKE PLACID - Two Main Street establishments have been trying to increase the amount of live music in the Olympic Village, but noise may be a problem.

Mayor Craig Randall said at a village board meeting Monday, July 22 that the village has gotten a few noise complaints about Smoke Signals and Delta Blue, both restaurants and bars that have frequently hosted live music acts this summer.

To head off the complaints, both restaurants applied recently for permits to waive the local noise ordinance, which bans loud music or noise after 9:30 p.m. Randall said he doesn't believe granting such a permit would be appropriate because the board's practice has been to give them only for specific events, but he also doesn't think it's necessary.

Randall said Smoke Signals requested in its application to hold concerts from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Delta Blue wants to have them from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., mostly on Friday and Saturday nights.

Randall noted that neither application is complete. It requires applicants to notify the property owners surrounding the establishment of the application.

"Neither one of them has chosen to do that," Randall said.

Randall said one of the restaurant owners pointed out to him that the village has already set a precedent on the issue by granting waivers to the Crowne Plaza Lake Placid Golf Club, but Randall said those are for specific events, though they currently seem to happen every weekend.

He noted that Smoke Signals was built earlier this year with the upstairs area made specifically as a venue for live music, and that was made clear through the planning board process. He said he believes it's more of an enforcement issue, and he suggested board members have a conversation with police and local planning and code officials about it in the future.

Trustee Peter Holderied suggested that the bars just close their windows.

"It'll take care of itself in a couple of months," Holderied said.

Village Attorney Janet Bliss said she doesn't believe such a permit should be necessary in a commercial district, though Trustee Art Devlin, who owns a motel down the road, noted that his business is in a commercial district and loud music next door every night would put him out of business.

Owner response

Smoke Signals co-owner Jason Stoltz told the News in a phone interview last week that he submitted the noise permit application because the police who came to the establishment to check up on the noise complaint told him to.

The police have been there responding to noise complaints three or four times, and each time it was when the windows behind the stage were open, Stoltz said.

"They have been super-cool every time," Stoltz said. "They really could not have been nicer to deal with."

He said he was surprised that the window was ever opened, because his staff deliberately pulled off the hand cranks that open the windows. There are only small knobs left, which he said would be difficult to turn. The bar has other concerns about the windows, he said: If someone leaves a glass on the windowsill and the window is open, it could fall onto Main Street below and potentially hurt someone.

"We have definitely never, as a business, chosen to open the windows," Stoltz said.

Stoltz said he and his staff have been vigilant about the noise for their last few shows. They made sure the window is closed, and the sound technician has lowered the volume a touch when music gets too loud.

Recently, Smoke Signals had bands play Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, and as far as Stoltz knows there weren't any noise complaints. He said he was there for each show and he repeatedly ran outside to check the noise, then across the street, to make sure it wasn't too loud.

"Lately I've felt like I'm on pins and needles when we're having a concert," Stoltz said.

He said he was surprised it became an issue in the first place, because they built the space with huge amounts of spray foam insulation and acoustic vinyl, which recording studios use to deaden sound, in the floor and most of the walls.

"We really went above and beyond as a business to try and contain the noise as best as we could," he said.

Stoltz said police told him that all the noise complaints have come from the same person. He said he believes most of the people in Lake Placid are excited to have a live music venue like Smoke Signals - a show doesn't go by where someone doesn't approach him and tell him as much - and he's mainly gotten positive feedback about it.

"That's obviously so rewarding and cool," Stoltz said. "I really think the vast majority of people are 100 percent behind our live music and really appreciate it."

He said he's confident that, if he and his staff stay diligent about containing the noise, the complaints will cease.

"I'm hopeful that it's not going to be a continued problem," Stoltz said.

Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or jcollier@



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