Naples BoS permits beer garden at Redneck

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

NAPLES — Janice Shane didn’t want to shut down her establishment’s beer garden and smoking area, especially prior to the weekend before the Fourth of July.

The owner of the Redneck Lounge said she had been proactive with phone calls to the Naples Town Office and the state liquor board this spring when she realized she might have the opportunity to expand her outdoor space.

Noise complaints made earlier this month may have stemmed from people talking outside, but she tries to keep the music at a reasonable level, and employees make certain the doors stay closed, Shane said.

“We only have six weeks of summer left; and I would like to have this resolved. We are just trying to pay our rent,” she told the Naples Board of Selectmen on Monday.

“I have an outside area I’d like to use this weekend,” Shane said, adding other businesses in Naples, “my peers,” are offering customers an outdoor space for eating, drinking and smoking in the summertime — an amenity that is a deciding factor for some when going out for the evening.

Selectmen voted to allow the Redneck Lounge to continue to use its enclosed outdoor space for patrons to drink alcohol and eat food. The vote was 3-to-1 with Selectman Rick Paraschak opposing.

However, a public hearing is slated for July 11; and at that time, residents can voice their concerns or complaints about the business.

Complaints made to town officials about the noise coming from the Redneck Lounge prompted Town Manager Derik Goodine to look into the protocol to follow when business owners expand beyond the plans presented to the board at the time of liquor license approval.

About a half-dozen restaurants have developed outdoor seating or smoking areas where customers can also drink alcohol, Goodine said. A few are the Galley, the Black Bear Café and American Legion Post No. 155, he said.

Goodine said his personal observations of the Redneck’s outdoor space was that he could not hear the indoor band playing from there. The Redneck Lounge is located off Route 11, in the building formerly known as Shakers.

According to Paraschak, Naples Fire Assistant Chief Jason Pond, who lives off Route 11 near Shane’s business, said the noise from the Redneck Lounge was keeping him and his children awake on weekdays. Paraschak advocated for a future public hearing, and the town developing written forms so residents could make formal noise complaints.

The Town of Naples does not have a noise ordinance. However, local businesses must go through a permitting process in order for live music to take place outdoors after 9 p.m.

According to Shane, the live band, which plays only on Saturday nights, performs on stage indoors. She said there is no need for outdoor music because of the building’s large dance floor and raised stage. Therefore, the Redneck Lounge did not need to apply for a Special Amusement Permit, which was discussed when she came before the board for the liquor license.

During Monday’s meeting, newly-elected Chairman Christine Powers asked if there were any legal issues with which the board should be concerned.

Goodine answered that by law, another public hearing did not have to occur, but the liquor license applicant had to come before the selectmen. If the board voted down the license approval, the application would go before the appeals board, he said.

“We don’t have a right to shut them down,” Goodine said.

He added other establishments that have expanded beyond original plans submitted in liquor license approval would be subject to a second public hearing, too. Goodine suggested giving tentative approval to the Redneck Lounge.

“It’s in the best interest of everyone to keep this open,” Powers said.

Prior to Powers’ statement, Selectman Dana Watson had said if the board voted to shut down the Redneck Lounge’s outdoor eating and drinking area, some of the other Naples establishments would have to eliminate the use of outdoor premises where alcohol is being allowed and wasn’t originally approved.

Watson said since outdoor music hadn’t come into play, the Special Amusement Permit wasn’t required — and everything was set there. But, he agreed a public hearing was in order.

“The key here is how many residents show up. If it’s just one or if 20 people can hear it all the way to Casco Village,” Watson said.

Resident Bob Neault said the board might want to take into account not necessarily the “quantity of complaints, but the quality.”

The board decided not to try to hold a special meeting since Monday falls on July 4, but wait until July 11 to schedule the public hearing.

“I don’t want to tick people off. I am very sensitive to noise complaints,” Shane said, adding she monitors the volume of the music coming from disc jockeys and the live bands at her establishment. “This is my town, too.”

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