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.