Barone's gets OK for live music, entertainment

In approval, Planning Commission limits performances to six days a week to give neighborhood a day off

After two dozen speakers and two and a half hours, the Planning Commission Wednesday night granted Barone's restaurant its request to feature live music and entertainment on its outdoor patio.

Barone's, located at 475 St. John St., had begun offering live music on Thursday nights to drum up more business after the city approved a temporary permit in June to allow downtown businesses to offer the entertainment.

But the strumming of the guitars and the beats from the amplifiers haven't been music to some neighbors' ears. Those opposing what they said was excessive noise came out to the commission's meeting to help fill the packed Council Chamber. They spoke of their desire for more compromise, warned the commission about setting a precedent and said Barone's was using the down economy as an excuse to get more lax regulations.

St. John Street resident Diane Churka, who with her husband Bob once owned Coffee Roast Express across the street from the Rose Hotel, said while she supports having music downtown, her quality of life has been compromised.

"I think there has to be some give and take," she said.

To make his point, Ed Churka brought a boombox to the podium and turned the volume up on a country song while displaying a decibel meter. Another prop made its way to the podium, brought by Michael Nuppy, who is the landlord for some condos near the restaurant. Saying he felt owners Joseph and Maricela Barone should do more to compromise, he handed Maricela a glass he said was found in the bushes on his property.

St. John Street resident Charles Hunter added, "While it's fun to go to Bourbon Street, it's no fun to live there."

But despite the impassioned pleas of disgruntled neighbors, those in support of the restaurant outnumbered them. Many came in the form of downtown business owners and Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce members.

First Street resident Kevin Gallagher was somewhat in the minority Wednesday night--a downtown resident who experiences the noise, but understands that's what comes with the territory.

"(Pleasanton) is losing customers to Livermore, Walnut Creek," Gallagher said, adding that he's always hearing from friends that the city is lacking in nightlife. "The positive aspects far outweigh the negatives of living downtown."

A woman who lives on St. John Circle, just feet away from Barone's, said she moved downtown to be close to the hub of activity and said she likes the ambient music that comes with living nearby.

Opponents of the permit won a small battle as the commission elected to condition the approval such that Barone's couldn't have more than six days of live entertainment per week. The Barones said they don't expect to offer more than a few nights of live entertainment per week, but wished to have the flexibility for special events such as business meetings and wedding receptions.

Per the city staff's recommendation, the commission also unanimously approved extended hours--6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily with live outdoor entertainment permitted through 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and through 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.


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Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 16, 2009 at 4:48 pm

This is sure to be appealed by those who would prefer a Ghost town rather than a downtown. The appeal will simply waste time and money. A great example of City Government at its best. Go to the Planning Department - deal with the bureaucrats - then go to the Planning Commission - watch those bureaucrats in action - then, because one person is not happy, it goes to the City COuncil where you can really watch the politics. They should eliminate one of these. Let the bureaucrats in the Planning Department make the decision or let the bureaucrats at the Planning Commission make the decision or let the polititians at the City Council make the decision. Having the decision made three times makes no sense whatsoever. A great example of our 'efficient' City of Pleasanton in action.

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Posted by Yes!
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 16, 2009 at 6:43 pm


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Posted by Just say YES!
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Aug 17, 2009 at 8:20 am

Love the new breaths of life that are making their way back to our downtown. It's been so sad for so many of us to watch the "closing down" of our downtown, and we ALL benefit by keeping the energy and vibrance alive. It's MUCH better to hear music and laughter one night a week than the stone-silence of a ghost town. Let's all work together to support our town's revival!

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Posted by No Rock Bands
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 17, 2009 at 9:00 am

Let's hope Barone's complies with the restrictions on hours and noise level. All too often in these situations, eventually the rock bands creep in with the db meter clocking over a 100. And, the cops better renew thier focus on people loitering outside whizzing where they stand and puffing the weed.

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Posted by Al. Bronzini
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 17, 2009 at 9:07 am

Good job Planning Commisioners, keep thinking business friendly,successful businesses are vital. They make much of everything else possible Downtown.

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Posted by Angelraj
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2009 at 10:18 am

Great decision - we need some life downtown!

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Posted by Mr. Buzzkill
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2009 at 10:55 am

..."No rock bands & none of those darn kids on skateboards, those loud motorcycles, low flying jets, telemarketers, scalding hot coffee & especially those damn red hat ladies. They're a menace!"

So uh, Mr. No Rock Bands, you are now officially an old, curmudgeonly, NIMBY numskull. So just who would be affected by a band, their closest neighbors maybe? Lets see their closest neighbors are the...oh wow, The Barone's (large white house to the left) After that their neighbors behind them (large field where the music would be) are...nobody! Also the given area they would use it would easily diffuse any amplified music over 100dB (btw, most amplified jazz, soft rock is rarely over 95dB, it just cuts into the ability to have any conversation during the performance) Plus if they use good quality, line array based speaker systems the sound can be more directional to the general crowd area & lessen the overflow into the surrounding areas.

I suggest a move to someplace like Brentwood, Mountain House or Sunol if utter peace, quiet & boredom are what you are looking for.

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Posted by Jeffery H
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Aug 17, 2009 at 11:21 am

Finally some good news! Surprise City Govt. didn't take over Barone's and turn it into a bank or real estate office.

Seriously, the "old" Pleasanton Hotel (just about 200yds away) had a successful outdoor music series for about 10 years. Watch the volume, and end at a ressonable hour. This is a great city but I feel like I'm on the movie set of "Footloose"

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Posted by Dan of Northern Static
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 17, 2009 at 12:12 pm

I've lived in town for most of the last 20 years and I've played and sang in just about every place in town that has had live music.

There's a HUGE difference between the noise in surrounding areas generated by a full band with electric guitars and drums, versus the noise volume produced an acoustic combo or solo artist. With a full band, you have to scream directly into the ear of the person sitting next to you. With an acoustic act, you shouldn't even have to lean forward across the table to hear your companion.

If no one thought to differentiate between these two disparate types of live music, I suppose the dB level will have to suffice. But in my opinion, bands work great for well (sound) insulated bars at least a quarter mile from a residential district, and acoustic music should be fine for anywhere else, as long as it's done by 10pm (which is pretty standard for acoustic, outdoor settings).

Glad to see we're making progress and compromises for the revitalization of the downtown area!

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Posted by Marijuana?
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Barone's is NOT going to attract people smoking Marijuana out side!

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Posted by yomama
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 17, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Sounds like something fun to do downtown at night but I'm sure I'd think differently if I lived nearby. I am sympathetic to the poor neighbors. Imagine having a headache and wanting to go to your home to get some peace & quiet and you can't do so.

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Posted by Bogart that Barone
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 17, 2009 at 3:07 pm

The lone dissenting voice refers to "whizzing where they stand & puffing the weed...??? Something tells me that Barone's is not going to depart much from their base clientele of the mid-40's on up, upper middle class on up & financially secure crowd in favor of attracting the younger, hipper, chronic dope smoking crowd. In other words, I don't anticipate a slew of raves happening downtown anytime soon.

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Posted by Steve Rosefield
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 17, 2009 at 4:10 pm

I am very pleased to hear that someone is attempting to breathe some life back into downtown. A couple of notes for some of the respondents above. #1) regarding sound limitations. -- This is pretty easy to calculate using inverse-square. Find the distance to the closest neighbor and decide on a tolerable SPL level. In free space, sound approximately dissipates to ½ the level (6db) every time you double the distance from the source. So 90 db at 100 feet is 84 db at 200 feet and 78 db at 400 feet (line of sight – much less if walls or barriers are in play). Set a limit based on the math and monitor it. #2) Line array technology has probably had the most impact of any retro application that I remember hitting the large format loudspeaker business (especially from the sales perspective). It works great in many applications, but not for the reason stated above. Line arrays can be oriented in any direction, but the common usage is to create wide horizontal coverage by (counter-intuitively) creating a vertical stack where the acoustic centers of the devices are within a quarter wave length of the highest controlled frequency. That usually means the 6 db down points are 60 degrees (or so) off of horizontal axis. The vertical dispersion is minimized by cancelation. To the audience (and neighbors) that means a wider acoustic sweet spot with less vertical coverage (a non-issue unless there is stadium seating to consider). A bit technical for our local gossip magazine, but I thought it might be worthwhile to set some accurate parameters before the discussion begins.

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Posted by bobart
a resident of Danbury Park
on Aug 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Very, very excited to hear the great news about Barone's music. My husband and I will definitely go there to enjoy and encourage this type of event.

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Posted by Mr. Buzzkill
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Steve're my hero. I probably should have consulted my copy of Don Davis', Sound System Engineering to put it as clearly as you stated (pages 145-148, 2nd edition btw) but as you said, this is the P-Town weekly, not the AES blogroom.

On behalf of the other 61,457 people who have NO idea of what we're talking about, sorry, now back to your local chit chat.

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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Aug 17, 2009 at 11:01 pm

This is music in our downtown area! Next thing you knwo they will allow beer and wine at our street festivals. Then all heck will brake loose. Kids will be laughing and singing. (Which reminds of an argument and few years ago about a church on Hopyard - the neighbors complained because they could hear the children laughing and playing at the daycare. I mean its ridiculous if you have to hear other people having a good time - good times should be banned from Pleasanton (oh wait, they pretty much have been)

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Posted by Wanted! Dead or Alive!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2009 at 9:17 am

Well, I for one want Pleasanton Alive! Gives me one more great reason to continue living here.
I was one of those disappointed for the removal of the old car show from downtown Pleasanton.
Way to go Barone!!

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Posted by Tom Gallagher
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 19, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Again the nimbys are at it. Joe Barone has brought us great dining experience, as well contributing to our wonderful downtown. They have just completed their beautiful outside facility. I am so happy they got conditional permit.
Keep up the good work Joe.

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Posted by Long way to go
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 20, 2009 at 9:49 am

Barone's is a start, but Pleasanton's way behind Livermore at this momment. Unless, of course, you're talking about Banking! I've been hanging out in Livermore on Tuesday Nights, all summer, for their Music Events. It's exactly as you'd want, fun for the entire family, good food, shopping, parking, and people. I can't imagine Pleasanton getting their act together so well. In the 20 years I've lived here the residents have consistently voted NIMBY on every subject put in front of them (Housing, Events, Taxes, etc) and the City Gov't has taken it's examples of bureacracy from their State & Federal compadres. 2 peas in a pod, and the results are evident. Downtown is practically out of business. It's 2 cities going in opposite directions and Livermore's taking all the money, people, and fun with them to Pleasanton's Banks!.

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Posted by Julie Nickels
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 21, 2009 at 1:00 am

Glad to hear Joe & Mari won their hearing...Looking forward to seeing more people come to Pleasanton to see/hear live music...For the past 10 years that I've bartended in Pleasanton I've overheard many customers say they now go to Walnut Creek for entertainment as there's not enough "happening" in P-Town. Long live live music downtown!

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Posted by Tina
a resident of Old Towne
on Aug 21, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Last night was a blast at Baron'es and the back was packed with folks SPENDING money!

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

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