Ron Larson, owner of The Clifton, 36840 Detroit Road, formerly Henry’s at the Barn, is seeking an amendment of a special-use permit to operate as a banquet facility and use an outside patio for ceremonies — something he has been doing for nearly four years since the city initially saw no difference between a banquet facility and a restaurant.
But during a recent City Council work session, John Bertrand, 2590 Candlewood Drive, whose property abuts The Clifton, said he’s tired of the noise and frustrated with the city’s inability to enforce noise disturbance ordinances at the location.
Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza told Council members that Larson gave his word in 2011 that his establishment would not to have any outside music. Larson, who was in attendance, said he’s aware neighbors have issues with noise from events, and he installed a 100-foot-long, 6-foot-high soundproof fence.
But Bertrand said Larson has not lived up to his promise of no outside music and his efforts to tame the noise have been half-baked, at best. Sound from deejays, bands and guests shake his home’s windows, Bertrand said, something Ward 2 Councilman Dennis McBride said he’s witnessed.
“To say there is no outdoor music is totally incorrect,” Bertrand said. “If it emanates from indoors and makes it outside, it’s outside music.”
Andrew McCarthy, 2558 Candlewood Drive, said he can hear the events only when he is outside, but Bertrand’s home bears the brunt of the noise from The Clifton because of positioning.
“Inside, we don’t get a lot of the noise,” McCarthy said during an interview at his home. “But if we’re on our back porch in the evening, we hear all the wedding announcements. There has to be a way to work something out that’s suitable to both sides.”
At-large Councilwoman Tammy Holtzmeier asked Larson during the work session if The Clifton routinely keeps doors or windows propped open so guests on the patio can hear music.
“We try to contain things because we have air conditioning in the building,” Larson said. “But I’m not saying on a nice day a door couldn’t have been propped open. But then again, we shut down the facility most of the time at 10 p.m.”
City Law Director John Gasior said the city was unaware The Clifton was operating as a banquet facility until complaints about noise were brought to their attention. The Planning Commission then decided Larson should seek to amend his special-use permit, which lists the establishment as a restaurant.
“From an enforcement standpoint, everybody felt (Larson) was in line with the restaurant outdoor seating permit he got in (2011),” Gasior said.
Bertrand told Council members he’s not convinced that the city even cares about noise coming from The Clifton. He said it’s one thing for a neighbor to have a graduation party, and another for a business to hold such events several times a week so close to a residential area.
“We’re tired of everybody’s happy moments happening in our backyard,” Bertrand said.
If City Council approves the amended special-use permit, dining will be permitted on the outside patio until 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. No live music, speakers or amplifiers will be permitted on the patio after 7 p.m.
Avon Police Chief Richard Bosley said there have been complaints regarding noise, but no citations have been issued.