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Resident/business conflict continues

Updated: November 15, 2013 9:39AM



CROWN POINT — Once again the case of “bar v. resident” was in court because of noise. This latest date was Nov. 1; the players this time were Fleming v. Pappas.

Downtown Crown Point is zoned B-1 and has maintained retail, business offices and residential uses for over 150 years. This dispute is over noise at The Zodiac bar, attached to Main Street Cafe with an outdoor patio. The outdoor area has a projection TV screen, multiple speakers and is is open until 3 a.m.

The city does have a noise ordinance on the books. It is a violation of that ordinance to have the combined sounds leaving the property being more than 64 decibels. The ordinance does carry a fine of each violation of no more than $2,500 per day. Each day such a violation occurs is considered a separate offense.

Chapter 98 of the city’s noise control ordinance number 1223 speaks to sound levels leaving the property of the area where the noise originates.

The city has not issued any tickets to the Zodiac. The city has been called about the noise around 100 times by the people living next door in the New Town West building.

Both sides had already had a court date in September, when a temporary restraining order had been placed on the Zodiac by Judge Pro Tem Megan Brennan. She even took a half hour out of the proceeding to have both sides step outside of the court and try to come to a settlement. None was reached.

When back in court, the attorney for the Zodiac called Manoli Pappas to the stand. He is the son of the owners of the property, Gus and Maria Pappas, and acts as the general manager of the Zodiac. Manoli Pappas was sworn in and questioned by the lawyers representing both sides and Judge Brennan, who said, “By hook or by crook this is going to be settled. I do not want to come in 10 times.”

When the attorney representing the Zodiac asked Manoli Pappas if he purchased a sound measuring device, the witness said yes. He was then asked, “Did your speakers exceed 64 dB?” The answer was no speaker exceeded that amount. He had measured each speaker separately.

When the attorney representing New Town West asked if the police ever used a sound measuring devise when they were called to the business, Pappas said no.

Judge Brennan asked Pappas if he understands that the business is obligated to avoid having a 64 dB sound leaving the property. Pappas said, “I have never gone out when people are out there (to measure the total sound levels).”

The attorney representing the Zodiac asked the judge, “How can you measure the sound of a girl laughing?” He asked that same question more than once. That same attorney said to the judge: “You talk about any sound that crosses the property line. He (New Town developer Tom Fleming) doesn’t want to hear anything across the property line. How is the Zodiac to control a girl’s laughing?”

Brennan said, “You can shut it down.”

The attorney for the bar tried to argue that the ordinance is in violation of his clients’ constitutional rights. Judge Brennan was not buying into that argument.

The judge asked how late the outside patio is open, and was told until 3 a.m.

She suggested a compromise of midnight.

January 9, 2014 has been set as the date to return to court. If it is not settled it will go to trial.



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