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Mamaroneck Looks to Mediate Noise Dispute

Village attorney asked to broker a deal in the long-running dispute between Molly Spillane's Pub and its downtown neighbors.

Village Attorney Michael McDermott placed himself squarely in the middle on Monday of a long-running, seemingly intractable quarrel over noise in downtown Mamaroneck.

Specifically, McDermott, who wears a town justice’s black robe when he’s not giving the village legal advice, will try to mediate the collision of interests that occurs when late night commerce and high rise housing are located within shouting distance of one another.

McDermott’s latest assignment follows yet another high-decibel meeting in which Mike Hynes, owner of the restaurant and sports bar at 211 Mamaroneck Ave., and nearby residents—chiefly those who live in the Regatta condominium complex at 123 Mamaroneck Ave., a half block away— threw jabs while village officials moderated the action.

With 9,000 square feet of space inside and multiple decks outside, the pub attracts large numbers of patrons for dining and drinks. It’s open Sunday through Wednesday until 2 a.m. and till 4 a.m. at all other times.

Monday’s contentious meeting—held in a conference room within the Regatta and hosted by the village board of trustees—placed the long-simmering controversy in sharp relief. “It isn’t fair to us,” complained Regatta resident Lucia Tatavitto, who will represent Spillane’s’ neighbors in the McDermott mediation effort.

"Something really needs to be done,” she said. “We shouldn’t have to call the police department every night.”

Indeed, one of the issues raised Monday was whether the fight to curb noise pollution was best waged through policing or code enforcement, or a combination of both.

But some angry residents complained that the police turn, well, a deaf ear to their noise complaints. “We elect the people sitting in this room,” said Jean Starace, another Regatta resident. “Why aren’t we given the same respect as Molly Spillane’s gets?” She charged that the police were being insufficiently proactive in enforcing noise ordinances.

Police Chief Christopher Leahy, who attended the meeting, denied any lack of vigor in his force’s policing efforts and said, “If he [Hynes] doesn’t comply, he’s issued a summons.”

Hynes, for his part, insisted that he does comply with village regulations and argues that any establishment like his, given its large number of patrons and music, will inevitably generate a certain volume of noise—and it should be expected from a business in a downtown commercial zone.

Village Manager Richard Slingerland told the meeting that nothing in the law allows the village to deny Spillane’s a cabaret license.

McDermott, the mediator and a town justice in Somers, explained, “There are competing interests here. He has the right to run his business and you have the right to enjoy your home.”

For Solange DeSantis, that’s precisely what she asks. “We’re entitled,” the Regatta resident said, “to enjoy our quality of life.”

Saying, “I don’t know what more we can do about it,” she asked the board, “There are noise ordinances. Are they going to be enforced?”

Trustee John Hofstetter, in a word of caution to both sides, noted that the village board, put in the middle of this dispute, could dictate a resolution that’s unlikely to be warmly embraced by either side. “Nobody’s going to be entirely happy with the results,” he warned. “Everybody will be unhappy.”   

SRT October 05, 2011 at 10:37 AM
“There are noise ordinances. Are they going to be enforced?” The statement above poses the ever present question in the Village. You can change the word "noise ordinances" for leaf blower laws, FEMA regulations, flood mitigation measures, zoning laws, building codes, tree laws or land ownership laws and the question is always the same, when will the Village start enforcing our laws uniformly? Why is it so hard for the Village follow it's own laws? This is issue has been going on for a couple years now and the politicians keeps shining on the residents of the Regatta. Either Molly Spillane's is in violation of the noise ordinance or they are not. Why is it so hard for the Village to make that simple determination?
SRC October 05, 2011 at 01:09 PM
They are clearly in violation. When i call to complain about local parties running loud at 11PM or later, the police come and shortly after the noise dies down. I believe in this instance, because the police frequent that trashy place, they sometimes try to turn a blind eye to whats going on to keep the peace
Margaret Smith October 05, 2011 at 01:55 PM
If they were clearly in violation, then a summons would be issued. Evidently, the laws and ordinances in the VOM allow this. There's no reason to be so derogatory about the police. I've seen the Mayor and Trustees frequent the establishment too, in fact the GOP had a fund raiser at Molly's. The root of the problem is that the elected officials should have thought of the noise pollution, and problems BEFORE allowing this type of business so close to residential properties. Now they want to "back track" and put limitations on the restaurant. It is clear that no one thought of the effects before, it was just poor planning as usual. Here's an idea since the VOM allowed this, they should reduce the real estate taxes on The Regatta, and all the other people affected maybe they will satisfied. Afterall, their property values have already suffered from this situation, may as well compensate them. Hit the VOM in the pocket, just like they do to the taxpayers. This whole situation should have been avoided. You can't even walk down the sidewalks in the village anymore without sidestepping tables and chairs. As long as the VOM is making money, they don't seem to sincerely care about the residents, or their quality of life. The concern they try to show is just talk, nothing more.
Chief Siwanoy October 05, 2011 at 03:39 PM
You may add illegally loud motor cycles to the list of 'quality of life' laws -this one a state law- that get less than adequate attention in the Village of Mamaroneck.
LMF October 05, 2011 at 04:43 PM
Reality Check: "Policing", by its very nature is subjective. Since a good portion of the Village cops live here and frequent local establishments, it makes it even more difficult.. Quality-of-life issues are also (mis-)handled based by degree . One of MY neighbors used his leaf blower nearly every day (5 min) all summer! When my initial calls to VMP were answered with " I have no officer available"....I gave up!! Unfortunate. Hope the residents of the Regatta don't give up...Molly's makes a nice buck without having to stay open till the AM hours. Maybe what we need in the Village is a cabaret curfew!!
Margaret Smith October 05, 2011 at 05:01 PM
Unfortunately, it is true that often police have more important, live saving duties to attend to. They do have to prioritize, I guess. It's a shame you gave up, maybe you should've asked for superior officer then. The point is that Richard Slinglerland says "that nothing in the law allows the village to deny Spillane’s a cabaret license." In other words, the village officials should thought to protect it's citizens before granting the cabaret license, as it stands now. These ordinances are created, and then there is nothing that we can do about them???!!!
SRT October 05, 2011 at 05:48 PM
"If they were clearly in violation, then a summons would be issued. Evidently, the laws and ordinances in the VOM allow this." I agree with everything you said except the above statement. As you can see from many of the other posts, there is no connection between being in violation and receiving a summons. I live next to a street where a developer did work,TEN years ago, in violation of approved plans and village code, it has cost taxpayers $100,000 and the village has never taken any action to enforce our laws. There is a house in Orienta that was built out of compliance with the approved plans and FEMA floodplain regulations and the Village has done nothing to make the owners bring it into compliance. Months ago, $35-50,000 dollars of village trees were removed illegally by a developer and the Village hasn't done anything to recoup the village's loss. Everybody in Villlage government, knows about these things and yet there is no will to enforce our laws.
Regatta October 06, 2011 at 12:48 AM
The Zoning Board issued a permit with restrictions which aren't being enforced. When asked why no summons were being issued, the answer was "this is a code enforcement issue", but the code enforcer doesn't work on the weekends, so no summons can be issued for noise complaints. Most of the Village Trustees in attendance could care less about the Regattas noise problems. All they did was smile and smerk at each other.
Margaret Smith October 06, 2011 at 01:03 AM
If that is the case, then perhaps the VOM could explain why they can't enforce the codes. They are exposing themselves for another lawsuit. I sympathize with the residents at The Regatta, and surrounding neighbors. Enough is enough sometimes, and to be subjected to continuous noise at all hours of the night, when quietness is appreciated, is unfair and unlawful. The VOM of Mamaroneck did the same thing to the people over by the high school. Said nothing to the Mamaroneck UFSD when they snuck the lights in, the Mayor even helped with the first shovel of dirt. Once the lights were up, and the residents were concerned about noise and light pollution, VOM said they "have no jurisdiction." They get all involved, just like with Molly Spillane's and then vacate the premises once the damage is done.
Doreen Roney October 06, 2011 at 02:44 AM
While I will not opine on either the restaurant's proprietor or the residents of the Regatta's dilemma, I was shocked at the way in which some of our village officials handled this situation. A few months ago the zoning board renewed this establishment's special permit with conditions for a specified amount of time. The reporter of this article says,"Village attorney asked to broker a deal in the long-running dispute between Molly Spillane's Pub and its downtown neighbors." An interesting question is, did the board direct him to do so or did he elect himself if this is the case. Why is the BOT now involved in this way? The BOT authorizes the zoning board to make these determinations. Some things reported that never addressed why code is not being followed- Mr. Slingerland reported that code needs to be changed, Trustee Santoro reported that the village wished to hire a night time code enforcement officer but the board voted it down. The village attorney discussed all of the various codes pertaining to the operation of such an establishment except for discussion of the code pertaining to noise. Political hot potato does not serve anyone's interests well. The question that I thought I heard asked was why enforcement of noise code is not being adhered to procedurally. Maybe reading the code book needs to be required reading for all village officials so they can intelligently handle situations such as these.
Jeff Hammer October 06, 2011 at 02:44 AM
This issue has been going on for quite sometime now. Village officials have been listening to the Regatta residents complain for the past 3 years now. Why hasn't anything been done yet. The only thing I keep reading is that their hands are tied. It looks to me that they dont care about the people who actually elect them, rather then the people that can make them money.
SRT October 06, 2011 at 10:46 AM
Why hasn't anything been done yet. "It's the Village Jake."
BG7 October 06, 2011 at 01:35 PM
"You can't even walk down the sidewalks in the village anymore without sidestepping tables and chairs." yea, and thats a good thing, not a bad thing as you seem to be implying. We live in a village that is alive and lively, not some storagee place for people waiting to die. Many of us like the European feel to main street, rather than some generic efficient-commerce-only soul-less bland strip. You can't find plenty of those if you want. As for Molly's - they need to get on this side of reasonable, or move on to the Boston Post rd. - the shut down BBQ place next to Brewers would do.
Margaret Smith October 06, 2011 at 02:01 PM
So many tables, chairs, and gates are not a positive thing if you are pushing a double stroller, or a handicapped person in a wheel chair. You simply just can't get by on the sidewalk. As far a "European feel" last time I looked we were in Mamaroneck, NY, USA. Looking at all the customers on the street in the village, it seems like commerce is doing just fine. The merchants appear to be very busy, and there's not much vacancy. As for Molly's they are merely doing the same thing as the other merchants, trying to make a living. It's up to the VOM to figure out a balance, they are the ones that created the codes and ordinances and now can't figure out how to enforce them. I repeat the VOM should have considered how having a bar/restaurant so close to the Regatta would impact the residents. It's the VOM's responsilibity to proectect it's citizens and they clearly did not.
BG7 October 07, 2011 at 01:55 PM
There's a clear sidewalk path in every case. Again, a specious attempt to make a negative out of a positive. "last time I looked we were in Mamaroneck, NY, USA" Yea, thats right, USA, land of the free, not land of the oppressed. And the commerce is doing fine precisely because its an attractive place to come with its eating options and liveliness. If you want to see a dying village main st. drive up HalsteadAve. to Harrison. Multiple empty storefronts and others closing. Its dead quiet with plenty of empty sidewalks. You'd love it there.
SRC October 08, 2011 at 02:46 PM
Margaret, I agree that there isnt a reason to be so derogatory towards the police when other officials visit there. Milly's is doing what its in business to do..make money. They are doing so by staying open late at night, paying people off the books, falsifying sales to lower their sales taxes, hiring Irish Nationals during the summer. How else can they afford to sponser this and that and a bunch of softball teams. If the village wants to make their money back, check into the books of this place and get someone from the labor deptartment there. I agree that the village should lower the real estate taxes of the regatta if they are going to be inconvenienced.
A B C October 08, 2011 at 11:52 PM
It's time for the Village Trustees and the Mayor to take a position, not sit on their hands.
Nancy White October 09, 2011 at 07:11 PM
I used to live in the Village of Mamaroneck and had neighbor who did the same thing. I went to the Village website, cut and pasted the relevent ordinance into a anonymous letter which I dropped off in every mailbox on the street. Problem solved.
Mantha October 14, 2011 at 01:05 AM
The VOM really needs to look into this on-going problem!! Stop passing the BUCK and change the LAWS!! No other Village/Town would allow this.. We are not going away..

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