Downtown restaurant petition for outdoor music, entertainment to be considered tonight

City planners want noise limited, cut-off earlier because of neighbors' concerns

In lock step with the Pleasanton Downtown Association's goal to create a dynamic flavor downtown, Barone's Restaurant is petitioning the city to allow it to offer outdoor music and entertainment.

Tonight, the Planning Commission will hear the restaurant's request to allow live and recorded music, other entertainment acts such as standup comedy and speaking engagements as well as extended bar and restaurant hours.

In June, the city's planning department approved a temporary permit by the PDA to allow any downtown business to implement outdoor music through 9 p.m. on any given day. That permit is valid through Dec. 31. The PDA has for months been making a big push for a revitalization of downtown and in addition to the permit request, has helped institute special events to encourage more visitors.

Barone's, located at 475 St. John St. next to the Rose Hotel, began playing music after the permit was approved, but the move has prompted some resistance from a few neighboring residents who have complained about loud noise after the 9 o'clock hour.

In an email to the city, residents Ed and Diane Churka said the noise caused vibrations in their home.

"We know we live downtown and must endure the sounds of the city, however, I believe there are parameters with which a business must comply," Diane Churka wrote. "We will be selling our home, but now I fear I will be unable to sell because of the racket indiscriminately played for their own needs. I do not want to prevent a business from marketing in these difficult times, however, we homeowners have not been considered or allowed to voice our issues before the conditional permit was issued."

Churka and her husband Ed own the two-story building at Main and Ray streets that formerly housed their Coffee Roast Express coffeeshop, a ground floor business that is now occupied by Oasis Restaurant.

But despite some residents' apprehensions, St. John Street resident Howard Merrill, wrote the city in support of Barone's.

"Since there's nothing we can do about annoying noise: i.e. train whistles, sirens and Harley pipes, let's encourage pleasant sounds like music," Merrill wrote.

In tonight's request, restaurant owner Joseph Barone is asking the Planning Commission to grant a permit to have entertainment through 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. He is also asking that restaurant and bar hours be extended to 2 a.m. daily. The changes are an effort to boost business and offset the effects of the recession, Barone wrote in a letter dated Aug. 4 to the city.

"Examples of potential entertainers would include live bands, disc jockeys, iPod and/or CD music, standup comedy night, a winemaker dinner, corporate groups that might have a speaker, and the like," Barone wrote. "There will be events, however, like weddings, in which the customer selects the music and/or the musicians."

In a staff report, city planners are recommending a 10 p.m. limit on Friday and Saturday nights, instead of the 11 p.m. cut-off that Barone is proposing. The staff planners contend that the earlier halt to outdoor entertainment would be more reasonable than what Barone is proposing due to downtown residents' and Rose Hotel guests' close proximity to the upscale eatery.

City staffers also say outdoor music and entertainment on the front deck area should cease at 9 p.m. daily.

As is standard, noise levels must adhere to the city municipal code, which is 70 decibels. However, since Barone's is within 300 feet of residences, noise levels cannot exceed 60 decibels after 10 p.m.

Also in the staff report, planners say they believe the restaurant should only be allowed to operate until midnight Monday through Thursday, 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 p.m. on Sunday. That is consistent with hours approved by the city for Redcoats on St. Mary Street, the report says.

The Planning Commission meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the City Council Chamber, 200 Old Bernal Ave.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 11, 2009 at 4:08 pm

"In lockstep with"?

Is this intended to imply that Barone's application is somehow not an independent action based on good business practice?

How about, "Joining a number of downtown businesses"?

Like this comment
Posted by Compromise
a resident of Laguna Vista
on Aug 11, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I think it would be nice to listen to outdoor music when I go to dinner at a downtown restaurant with my family. That is a little one-sided for me, however, since I get to return to a home that won't be impacted by any noise once I leave the restaurant. I cannot imagine having to live next door to this with kids trying to sleep, etc.

Both the businesses and the home dwellers of downtown have a valid point. I would think the City could work with businesses and downtown dwellers to meet both needs.

Perhaps there could be a noise volume level agreed to with those directly impacted by each restaurant - some direct communication per situation.

I would also say it is reasonable to expect music to be turned down more as the evening progresses (louder music at 6-8 and then lighter "sounds" from 8-10). Rarely are the patrons of downtown interested in more than dinner music to accompany their meals anyhow. Afterall, if you are interested in more intense music volume, Aura is a great option for you.

Ultimately, I look forward to seeing the resolution between the interests of the homeowners and the businesses through dynamic communication with the City leadership.

Like this comment
Posted by Clint
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I dont like the sound of my neighbor's back yard fountain. I cant sleep with the windows open because of the waterfall sound. Its not a pleasanton sound to me but it probably is to them...

Youd be surprised what people actually like, so my suggestion is to not make any sounds near a residence that were not there when they moved in.

But... Ill bet they allow the music and if you dont like the music then you will be the bad guy...

Like this comment
Posted by Cindy
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 12, 2009 at 8:22 am

Good grief?!! The Churkas were business owners and THEY are complaining ...!! At least these downtown businesses are doing things legally and asking the city, instead of sidestepping the rules.

Like this comment
Posted by Dean
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2009 at 9:01 am

It is about time there is some change in our downtown area. We seem to be the only ones resisting change. The other way has not worked for us since it has been done the quiet way for a long time. We need vibrant attractions to keep business and taxes coming to our downtown area. I for one tend to go outside of Pleasanton many times because both retail and movie houses and vibrant atmosphere is always better (more vibrant) elswhere.
It would also be nice to have a nice movie theatre downtown or at our mall rather than taking our money to Dublin or Livermore.

Get with it, make Pleasanton downtown desirable to the young and old! Don't let it die! If you don't like lively downtown, move to more quiet surroundings.

Like this comment
Posted by Kelly
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 12, 2009 at 9:29 am

I have frequented Barone's several times since they started playing music on Thursday nights. The Barone's have done a wonderful job of creating a nice ambiance and bringing in good entertainment. This is just what our downtown had been lacking. If the city of Pleasanton truly wants to re-vitalize downtown, a good start would be approving Joe Barone's request to grant a permit to have entertainment through 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. I also think it is reasonable to extend the restaurant and bar hours to 2 a.m. daily. If patrons are wanting to spend money at our downtown businesses during these hours, let's allow them the opportunity to do so.

Like this comment
Posted by Al. Bronzini
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 12, 2009 at 9:35 am

As a Downtown property owner and former business man Downtown I support Joe Barone's petition, it's the type of vitality that is needed to make Downtown Pleasanton more vibrant. Have you been to Italy or France, there is music on many side streets and in the courtyards that are surrounded by Pensione's, people looking out the windows and enjoying the music below. Barone's is a quality dinner house and the best of it's kind in town. Joe and his family know how to run a business, they have put their money where their mouth is, the Barone family have contributed much to the vitality of Downtown Pleasanton, let them have their music, let them continue to be successfull. This application should not be blocked by a few whiners who don't want their evening T.V. programs interrupted.

Like this comment
Posted by J&R
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 12, 2009 at 9:55 am

My wife and I went to Barone's for the first time last week for our anniversary.

I called the prior day and discussed my desires with staff. They stored a huge bouquet of Red Roses in the walk in for me and placed the flowers on the table when we arrived.
They were ore than accommodating as far as my menu and presentation requests. The food was the BEST we have tasted in a long time. The waiter, Alex was top notch and we were 110% satisfied with the experience.

We went out back to the patio after dinner and I must say, this is a beautiful environment and we would be ecstatic to be able to relax and listen to music and spend money there often if this were approved.

We have never met the owners and we went on a Monday night, but I hear they are very good business people and hosts.

Like this comment
Posted by bobart
a resident of Danbury Park
on Aug 12, 2009 at 10:02 am

It would be wonderful to get some live music downtown. It would be a major positive for me. I am wondering why compliance was not in order when the nearby residence were building their business. Two thumbs up to the Barone's for getting pleasing atmosphere into the downtown.

Like this comment
Posted by Troy
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 12, 2009 at 10:05 am

This decision is a no brainer. Residents of Pleasanton, City Planners and the City Council should be supporting our local business owners. Our family has been going to Barone's Restaurant and many of the other downtown restaurants since we moved to town in 2004. In fact, we eat downtown 3 - 4 times per week. Downtown Pleasanton needs more places like Barone's. The music is a big upgrade to the ridiculous sounds and vibrations of Harley's that cruise Main St. during all hours of the day and night. I am in full support of Barone's request.

Like this comment
Posted by Ang
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2009 at 10:08 am

Life is short. Let's allow music downtown, along with music at Amador games, etc. Let's enjoy ourselves a little.

Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 12, 2009 at 10:40 am

Music at Barone's would be a great addition. A great downtown restaurant, one of the best downtown.

Like this comment
Posted by Timothy T
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 12, 2009 at 1:18 pm

For years, the downtown association did business as usual and now they've gotten bit in the butt for it.

They've been doing some amazing things lately and this is another example of a great way to keep things alive downtown and turn it in to a destination, not just something to do when you're bored on a weeknight.

The downtown really should be declared an entertainment district which will make all of the complaints like this moot, but for now, this is a great step in the right direction and should be encouraged for the greater good rather than discouraged because of one or two people who, in actuality, it probably won't affect.

The fact that there's live music close to the house that is being sold could help close the deal rather than discourage it. Think Santana Row or other entertainment areas.

If we don't do things like this, other towns near us will and get to reap the benefits.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 12, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Remember that these whiners are the same people who want the city to pay millions to create a "quiet zone" for the trains after they bought homes next to the tracks . . . . . . suck it up or move.

Like this comment
Posted by Jag Singh
a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 12, 2009 at 3:36 pm

YES! I totally support Barrone's request to add music. I hope the city of Pleasanton will allow music, live bands, stand up comedy clubs etc in the downtown area. Allowable uses should be clean, family oriented types. Please no bars and no strip clubs! It would be great to see Past-time bar close up and leave town. Past-time is an eyesore for downtown Pleasanton.

Like this comment
Posted by Claudette McDermott
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2009 at 4:36 pm

This is the breath of Fresh Air that I've been wanting in Pleasanton for a long long time. Time to young it up and have some fun. Life is short and if we can't keep in step we need to jump ahead! How about Wine and Beer at our Art and No Wine Festivals? :)

Like this comment
Posted by music lover
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 12, 2009 at 4:55 pm

I'm all for more live entertainment downtown and I support this request, but from some of the comments it's as if people are not aware of the live music downtown already. The Main St. brewery has live music every weekend (fri-sun) and also on nights during the first Wednesdays. The Farmer Restaurant also has signs up about live bands (not sure of schedule). Then of course there is live music every friday in the park and first wednesdays near round table in the summer, as well as a few of the Main St. businesses during the first wednesdays.

Even though Barones is petitioning for the ability to have live music *nightly* I don't know if that will be a reality or not. Like I said, I hope this passes, but some people need to get out more as there are things going on downtown already on a regular basis.

Like this comment
Posted by Dean
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2009 at 6:23 pm

I think people are fully aware of the different events going on and that is wonderful and enjoyable!

People want other options and Barone's contribution appears to be another step in the right direction!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Couples: Reading List
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,156 views

New Donlon school is at least four years away
By Tim Hunt | 1 comment | 772 views