The owners of the Person Street Bar have six months to prove that a new outdoor sound system won’t be a nuisance to their neighbors.
The Raleigh City Council voted Tuesday to allow the bar to play music on their back patio.
The bar opened six months ago in Person Street Plaza at the corner of East Franklin and North Person streets near downtown.
The owners said they intend to play soft background music and that the music was inaudible from the street in early testing.
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Justin Pasfield, one of the bar’s owners, told the council that they don’t even expect the music to be loud enough to require a permit, but they wanted to be as transparent as possible to encourage a good relationship with residents.
“We want to engage the community and we want to work together, basically,” he said. “And so we want to be open about what we’re trying to do as a bar and hopefully we can address concerns together.”
The permit would allow the music to be played between the hours of 4 p.m. and 2 a.m. every day. It also would allow for up to four live performances in front of the bar as part of special events each year.
A handful of neighbors commented on the proposal. Most supported the permit or said they would be able to as long as they have some recourse if the music is too loud.
Billy Brewer, a nearby resident, said the owners have been responsive to his concerns. If the music is only as loud as the owners promise, he doesn’t expect to have any problems.
If not, though,“I’d like some protections on the downside,” he said.
The council opted for the six-month time frame as a way to test the bar’s new system. If all goes well, the bar will be granted a longer-term permit, without paying another fee.
Mayor Nancy McFarlane said one issue she will be interested in when the bar comes before the council again is whether the late-night hours for the music work out.
If not, the council could ask the bar to turn the music off earlier or turn the volume even lower on certain nights.
Alicia Johnson, another neighbor who lives across the street from the bar, told the council she is very concerned because of the noise, fumes and parking problems that have affected her since the bar opened.
“I ask that the city council consider all of the neighbors in this area, not just the businesses. My quality of life has been altered,” she said.
Councilman Russ Stephenson said that a bigger issue than the music’s volume may be the late-night revelers who spill out of the bar – an issue that has been raised in other neighborhoods as well.
Pasfield said he wants residents to come to him with any concerns they have about noise or other problems.
“We’re very sensitive to that. We want to hear about those instances,” he said.
Johnson said Pasfield invited her to visit the bar and she may do so. The real test, though, will come once the music and events begin.
“We’ll see what happens,” she said.