Groton Town working with Mystic business on noise complaints

Groton — Town Manager John Burt is working with the owners of a downtown Mystic restaurant to resolve complaints by neighbors about noise.

Burt said he’s speaking to the owners of Chapter One Fine Food and Drink in downtown Mystic and awaiting a permit application from the restaurant that would allow better regulation of the noise level. The permit would specify details like the amount of allowable outdoor seating, hours of live music and outdoor speakers, he said.

The complaints highlight the difficulty of striking a balance between maintaining neighborhood tranquility and a growing business area with restaurants and nightlife.

Chapter One opened last year at 32 W. Main St., and is open from 10 a.m. until 1 a.m. on Sunday, from noon until 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

“As you know, downtown Mystic is both residential and commercial,” Mystic resident Aimie Gresham told the Town Council on Tuesday. “In the evenings in particular, it does tend to lean more towards residential because most of the businesses are closed at that time.” While she chose to live in downtown Mystic, “into the late hours, excessive noise, and so forth, we don’t think is fair,” she said.

Kayla Shaw, assistant general manager of Chapter One, said the restaurant started turning off outside music at 10 p.m. during the summer and recently removed its outside speakers.

"It's unfortunate because in the summer you want to have the windows open, you want to have the doors open" and for passers-by to hear the music, she said.

"We try to be as respectful as possible," she said. "We are trying to run a business and people seem to like it, and we're just trying to find our balance."

Groton Town police Deputy Chief Paul Gately confirmed that the department has received noise complaints. The department has met with restaurant managers and they have been receptive, he said.

“We’ve met with management to try to mitigate the issues and find a balance. But we are definitely concerned in our community policing role and want to find that harmonious balance,” Gately said.

Councilor Lian Obrey said she plans to visit the restaurant and neighborhood this weekend to see the situation herself and evaluate it. Groton City officials once dealt with a similar issue at Par 4 Restaurant at Shennecossett Golf Course and were able to resolve it, she said. "I thought I’d take a look at that to get a little guidance," she said.

While she wants the business to thrive, “you don’t want to do it at the cost of a neighborhood,” she said.

“I feel we can figure something out that certainly acknowledges the neighbor and acknowledges the new business that’s doing so well,” she said.

d.straszheim@theday.com

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