Naples board will tend to beer gardens

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

NAPLES – When the warmth of summer arrives, many local eating establishments offer customers al fresco venues – outdoor settings where customers are allowed to eat, or smoke a cigarette while sipping an alcoholic beverage.

But, with summertime’s increased use of beer gardens, sometimes noise complaints crop up, too.

On Monday, the Naples Board of Selectmen will hold public hearings for all restaurants and taverns that have beer gardens. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Naples Town Office.

According to Town Manager Derik Goodine, the public hearing is not required by the Maine State Liquor Board.

However, elected town officials have expressed a desire to hear from the public about any noise complaints.

Also, business owners may want to explain how they alleviate noise levels or other issues stemming from beer gardens.

While the Town of Naples does not have a noise ordinance, a few years ago it prohibited outdoor bands from performing after 9 p.m. – except when such entertainment is okayed through a Special Amusement Permit.

According to Goodine, he and selectmen have received a few noise complaints about the American Legion, the Black Bear Café, the Galley, and the Redneck Lounge – all located on or near Route 11 as opposed to along the Causeway.

“I think there should be a public hearing,” Selectman Rick Paraschak said recently, “especially for those (businesses) that are in residential areas. The Redneck is next to a mobile home park.”

“When people are having fun, they get loud outside,” he said.

Selectman Tom Mayberry stressed that he did not have anything against the beer gardens – as long as people drinking outside can keep the noise down.

In addition to multiple conversations happening outdoors, noise levels can rise when the door leading to the beer garden is left open while music is playing. That happens when a group of people heads to the beer garden, and someone holds the door open until everyone passes through the doorway. Other times, a door might be propped open for its cooling effect.

Chairman Christine Powers said the board is trying to strike a balance between these businesses and the people living in homes near commercial zones.

Noise complaints will not be the root for the closure of local beer gardens.

But, the upcoming public hearing could clear a path for mitigating noise levels at establishments sharing common ground with residentially zones areas.

Please follow and like us: