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Pittsfield Licensing Board Compromises With Proprietor's Lodge
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
01:06AM / Friday, August 30, 2019
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Proprietor's Lodge, seen in this file photo, is being allowed limited outside, amplified entertainment.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Licensing Board approved a request by Proprietor's Lodge to have amplified entertainment outdoors but only during wedding ceremonies. 
 
The board unanimously voted Monday to amend the lodge's entertainment license but not to the full extent the managers of the property wanted. 
 
"Any amplification ought to be limited at this time to during a wedding ceremony. Period," Chairman Thomas Campoli said. "I think that is something that will be helpful to the Proprietor's Lodge and help you guys do what you want to do but I also think it is respectful to the neighborhood."
 
Attorney Dennis Eagan, representing Proprietor's Lodge manager Candice Lyon, said originally the board granted the entertainment license with the caveat that there would not be amplification outdoors. Eagan said his client would like to change this and have the same rights within the city's noise ordinance as other business owners. 
 
He said according to the ordnance, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. noise generated can not reach louder than 70 decibels from the complainant's property line. Between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., this level drops to 50 decibels.
 
Eagan said they would not be interested in operating this late and his client purchased a mechanism to measure the sound to ensure they do not go over this decibel level. 
 
"It is really flipping the burden. It would normally be on the complainant to determine that the ordinance was being violated," he said. "My client has gone to the length of investing in equipment to make sure that is not happening."
 
Eagan said only acoustic guitar, keyboard, harp, violin, cello, and like instruments would be played outdoors.
 
Campoli asked if the outdoor amplified entertainment would only be during weddings and although Eagan said this would be the priority, his client would like to have amplified entertainment on other occasions.  
 
"My applicant wants the same opportunity that other places have," he said. "Entertainment within the requirement of the license."
 
This seemed to be the sticking point not only for the board but for the neighbors who felt that allowing live entertainment outside would be a slippery slope.
 
"The neighborhood does not need to hear it. We do not need to listen to it," resident Linda Pensivy said. "I have children and a husband who need their sleep and who need to get up early, they do not need to have to have their sleep disrupted."
 
Neighbors noted that sound was already an issue coming from the establishment because of people leaving the lodge and opening and closing doors. It was noted that the doors and windows have been left open and live entertainment, which is allowed inside, often floods through the neighborhood disrupting residents throughout the night.
 
One resident had a petition in hand with more than 100 names on it stating that such entertainment should not be allowed in a thickly settled neighborhood.
 
Resident Robert Snell said he felt the city should do more to protect the neighborhood and felt some officials greenlit the business to do whatever it wants. He said the city has "thrown the neighborhood under the bus."
 
"Every time we come to these meetings we plead with you people to protect the neighborhood and we get voted down every time," he said. "I don't want to have any increase to what there is currently."
 
Campoli disagreed and said the Licensing Board had been empathetic to the neighborhood's plight. 
 
Most of those who spoke said they did not have an issue with some amplified music outside during the occasional wedding ceremony. As long as they were brief and only occurred during the day, residents felt there was no reason to deny someone their wedding march.  
 
"I don't have a problem with that," Pensivy said. "Everyone deserves a nice wedding."
 
The board tended to agree and in their motion limited live entertainment to three-piece groups.
 
Eagan offered to provide the board with a site visit so they could see how loud the proposed system would be even if delayed the board's action however, board member Dina Guiel Lampiasi said it would not be a fair example unless there were hundreds of people at the lodge as there would be at a wedding.
 
Correction: Ms. Lampiasi was incorrectly referred to with the name of a former board member. iBerkshires regrets the error. 
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