Meadville Tribune

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July 14, 2013

SUNDAY ISSUE: Downtown music

MEADVILLE — Dave Stone thought he was making a simple request to Meadville City Council back in April.

“I’ve been watching the City of Erie do Thursday night block parties and other communities do similar activities that provide a real economic stimulus to their communities,” Stone, the owner of Mickey’s restaurant and lounge on Park Avenue in downtown Meadville, told the Tribune. “My whole purpose was to try to stimulate the economy of downtown Meadville. In Erie, there are block parties every Thursday night. I just want to copy what they’re doing.”

Stone would just like to have guitar players outside on his deck, he continued. “Right now, if a guy puts in an outside amplifier to sing into, you’re in violation. We’d like to have bands play out there — and I don’t want to violate Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) regulations. We’d like to be able to call it ‘Music on Mill Run’ or something, since my deck extends across Mill Run. At the same time, we don’t want to keep the neighbors up. We’re very mild-mannered.”

“It’s not that simple” is the message Gary Alizzeo, the city’s attorney, delivered to council during its recent monthly work session.

According to Alizzeo’s report to council, the state’s Liquor Code of 1951, reenacted in 1987, and the PLCB regulations found in the Pennsylvania Code put strict regulations on amplified music. Originally, it was prohibited for loudspeakers to allow the sound of music or other entertainment to be heard on the outside of the licensed premises. Recently, however, the PLCB has broadened its interpretation of this requirement and now only prohibits noise from loudspeakers to be heard beyond the licensee’s property line.

In Meadville, Alizzeo added, the city’s nuisance/disorderly conduct laws would also apply.

This, Alizzeo told the Tribune after the meeting, applies to all municipalities — cities, towns, boroughs and townships — in Pennsylvania.

In Vernon Township, no steps have been taken to allow amplified music to be played outside bars because no one has asked, Stone, who serves as Vernon Township Manager, told the Tribune.

In West Mead Township, one application for a permit to build an outdoor stage was approved by the township’s zoning hearing board, but no steps were taken to secure authorization for amplified music from the PLCB, according to Township Secretary Jill Dunlap.

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