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Trustees discuss Portage Lakes noise complaints

9/19/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

COVENTRY — During the summer, Coventry welcomed two new restaurants to the Portage Lakes community.

However, some local residents are not pleased these establishments offer loud outside music and voiced their complaints during the Sept. 12 Coventry Board of Trustees meeting.

“I want to hear from everybody,” said Trustee Tom Seese at the meeting.

Trustee Chairman Bob Calderone was absent.

Seese said he was pleased On Tap at the Harbor took over the Old Harbor Inn, 562 Portage Lakes Drive, and Nicoletti’s Park Place replaced Hook, Line and Drinkers at 530 Portage Lakes Drive. About a year ago, both restaurants closed. At the time, Seese said township officials would work diligently to bring new dining options to Portage Lakes.

On Tap at the Harbor is a bar and grill and Nicoletti’s is a bar and restaurant. Both establishments feature live outdoor music on a regular basis, according to the board.

“They do play music, and a few people are complaining about the noise,” Seese said.

Despite four calls from individuals unhappy with the live music, Seese said the township wants the new businesses to be “successful.”

Seese said he hears the bands playing at Nicoletti’s from his home, and he and his neighbors have come to “accept noise for a few months of the year,” as it is “just a part of living on the Portage Lakes.”

He said the board can’t regulate noise but does enforce existing guidelines for outside dining and entertainment venues in the township.

Seese is concerned stricter rules, specifically concerning live bands, could stop the establishments from drawing a crowd and making money.

“I want to commend both investors, and I hope they stay. We do not want to run them out,” he said.

Resident Dennis Green, of Surfside Drive, spoke during the meeting in opposition to the loud music.

“It is like we are living at an amphitheater,” he said.

Green likened the noise to having dogs continuously barking.

“They have forced us to go indoors. When we close the doors, we still hear the music,” he explained.

Green said he particularly is upset over the outdoor bands that perform at Nicoletti’s.

He requested the board better regulate the issue of outside music and suggested live bands play only inside the establishments.

“I do hope they prosper, just not at the expense of the residents,” Green said.

Trustee Gary Zoldesy told Green the matter would continue to be explored before next summer, when the live bands would return outside. In the meantime, he, too, asked residents to contact the township to share their thoughts on the matter.

A great deal of the meeting also was spent approving the use of funds to demolish numerous additional homes in the township. Most of these homes have been vacant for years and have been deemed “unsafe,” said Zoning Inspector George Beckham.

Seese explained the trustees toured the deteriorating structures and agreed they needed to be demolished to improve living conditions in the township. The demolitions are being funded primarily through the Moving Ohio Forward grant program, township officials have said.

Beckham reported asbestos was found at some of the homes slated for demolition, so abatement had to be conducted before the structures were taken down.

Homes to be demolished include: 660 Fruit Drive, 640 Fruit Drive, 283 Iris Ave. and 46 Oregon Ave.

If enough funding still is available, the board approved the demolition of 965 Portage Lakes Drive, 1175 Lockwood Road, 1344 Lockwood Road and 730 Chenoweth Road.

At the meeting, the board also approved utilizing money obtained through the Community Access Recycling Grant to print and mail the first edition of the Coventry Quail, a community newsletter. Seese explained the newsletter is an attempt to let residents know of upcoming township happenings, specifically recycling opportunities.

It also was announced during the meeting the township will be a recipient of the Safety Intervention Grant, thanks to the persistence of Road Superintendent Lael Stouffer.

Fiscal Officer Joni Murgatroyd explained about $36,000 is being received to provide the Road Department with some safer pieces of equipment.

The board also discussed streetlights that recently were vandalized on Portage Lakes Drive. Township officials are asking residents to provide any information on the incident. Murgatroyd said it is costing the township almost $7,000 to replace the destroyed streetlights.

At the next regular meeting, Oct. 10, the township will collect canned goods and household items for the Lockwood Food Pantry, Zoldesy announced.

The next board meeting is set for Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall, 68 Portage Lakes Drive.

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