Last night's council meeting produced a bit more controversy than I had anticipated. The request for beer garden status
for Sports Blast's
new outdoor patio cum wedding chapel ran into a roadblock when Councilpeople Adams and Monty, long with Mayor Fritzler, voted against granting approval, splitting the council vote 3-3, meaning approval was not granted.
Sports Blast's location was the sticking point. Currently, beer gardens in Carbondale have no restrictions on noise level during weekend hours. People living on Giant City Road can often hear music coming from Pinch Penny Pub's garden during the weekend, even though Pinch Penny is located about 2 miles away. Sports Blast is located in an area zoned agricultural, adjacent to the high school and a planned Hindu temple, with a number of residences and apartments nearby. Given complaints about noise from other beer gardens Monty, Adams and Fritzler expressed concerns about the possible noise coming from the new facility disturbing residents of the area.
The application contained language indicating the SB planned to play "soft entrance music" for when the bride arrived and exited the ceremony and expected to play music only between 5 p.m and 11 p.m. However, under the Liquor Code as currently written, beer gardens are exempt
from sound level ordinances over the weekend. Ergo, if the beer garden license passed, the city could do noting legally should Sports Blast play music more loudly than anticipated or past 11 p.m. When asked if he would include the language regarding time and music constraints as part of the application, making them legally enforceable, Sports Blast demurred, saying they felt it unfair to treat them differently from other beer gardens in the city. After this, the vote went ahead with Fronabarger, Wissmann and McDainiels voting to approve and, as noted earlier, Fritzler, Adams and Monty voting again (Jack had to recuse himself, due to his ownership of the beer selling Fat Patties). Wissman and McDaniels made a point of saying they felt it important to encourage business growth as much as possible within the community.
Sports Blast then, upon invitation from the city attorney, had a private discussion with him, and, when they returned to council chambers, announced the company was willing to restrictions as enforceable parts of its application. The beer garden application went before council again, this time passing unanimously, though Wissmann and McDaniels both made a point of saying they would have preferred to pass the application as originally written.