Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 16:05
Town adopts ordinance limiting bars to eight performances a year; playing must stop by 11 p.m.
There was no standing ovation when the Fredonia Town Board approved an ordinance last week regulating outdoor performances, but officials can take satisfaction in noticing there were no angry residents in the audience as the measure was acted on.
Town officials have been wrestling with the issue of outdoor music since complaints began coming in from neighbors last summer.
The objections were largely aimed at one local bar, the Little Kohler Haus, with residents saying late-night music made it impossible for them to enjoy the peace of the rural area.
Those criticisms triggered a counter-protest from bar patrons who said the venue provides a welcoming setting for neighbors to gather.
The Plan Commission took on the challenge of crafting an ordinance regulating outdoor music that allows the business to continue without aggravating neighbors.
Under the recommended ordinance which was unanimously approved by the Town Board, bar owners will be allowed to hold up to eight outdoor performances a year. Outdoor music will be allowed from noon to 11 p.m.
Commenting on the hours restriction, Town Board Chairman Richard Mueller said, “I don’t know if you’ll be able to find a band that will play for 11 hours.”
In addition, permit applications must be submitted at least 14 days prior to an event.
According to the ordinance, the restrictions apply to “live bands, DJ and musical performances, comedy acts, dance reviews and other similar forms of entertainment.”
Future permits for the remainder of the year may be revoked if the town verifies complaints submitted in writing against a business are upheld.
The critique of the ordinance came from a neighbor who noted there was no reference to noise complaint violations coming from a business.
Supr. Jim Stemper said the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department has issued citations carrying substantial fines for noise violations in the past, and those restrictions remain in place.
“If the neighbors have complaints, they need to contact the sheriff’s department. None of us is going out there with a sound meter at 11 o’clock at night,” Stemper said.
The board also approved a pair of ordinances that will clear the way for Joanne VanDyck to open a bed and breakfast business she plans to call Hilltop Haven at W4907 Hilltop Rd.
In addition to lodging, the century old farm property will become a venue for receptions and private parties.
The ordinance specifies that the bed and breakfast must be the primary residence of the owner. Outdoor music for the reception component of the business would face the same noon to 11 p.m. restriction as bars.