Submitted by westward on Fri, 09/30/2011 - 22:18.
Is Cleveland doomed to become a city without music if legislation is updated that spells out the rules for bars, taverns and restaurants that want to add live music?
That is what the special interest people are saying to musicians. Musicians, and fans, are being fed the line that if this legislation were to pass as is, there would no longer be live performances in Cleveland.
American Pie or Chicken Little?
A Keep Cleveland Rockin’ has been set up on Facebook that has taken on the mission to defeat both this legislation and an admission tax.
Cleveland.com ran a story and an editorial that I find disingenuous (and my thoughts on that here).
I contacted Henry Senyak, one of the many residents that worked on crafting this proposed legislation. I requested, and received, copies of the actual proposals. I have copied them below, and will post the rest as comments.
Read them and then ask what the hell is going on here? Why all the fuss?
It seems that what started as a way to update old zoning laws and to protect the residents that have a right to live in peace, has been upstaged by special interests using the threat that Cleveland will lose its status as the rock and roll capitol. The musicians opposing the legislation need to ask themselves if they are being fed a slanted perspective on this? Also, they can ask themselves how they like to live in their own homes and yards?
The proposed legislation Summary:
PROPOSED ZONING REGULATIONS FOR ENTERTAINMENT-RELATED USES IN CLEVELAND
Summary of Pending Ordinance, including amendments by City Planning Commission
Goal: To permit restaurants and bars with entertainment and/or outdoor patios, along with nightclubs and concert halls and similar uses at appropriate locations, in a manner that adds vibrancy and economic vitality to the city, while preventing nuisances and safeguarding the quality of life for residents in nearby neighborhood areas.
- The new ordinance adds “Conditional Use” regulations to Cleveland’s zoning code
- Allows fine-tuned, case-by-case approvals of potentially problematic uses by BZA
- Allows BZA to add “conditions” to protect residents and other sensitive uses
- Conditional Use Permits can be revoked if use fails to comply with conditions
- Current code either “permits” or “prohibits” uses – with no middle ground and less opportunity for special conditions to be imposed
Restaurants & Bars with Entertainment
- Entertainment permitted for restaurants and bars in Local Retail Districts only if music is acoustic or no louder than acoustic music
- Entertainment with amplified music permitted in General Retail Districts, but only as Conditional Use if within 200 feet of residential district or use
- Outdoor patios permitted only as Conditional Use if located within 200 feet of residential district or use. Outdoor patios with music permitted only as Conditional Use if located within 1,000 feet of residential district or use.
- No music permitted on outdoor patios after 11 p.m. unless BZA grants variance to as late as 1 a.m. if it is determined that there will be no negative impact to residents
- Current code prohibits all music in Local Retail Districts
- Current code does not regulate outdoor patios
- Current code language does not directly restrict entertainment in bars in General Retail and Industrial Districts (but, because of the lack of clarity, these uses have been subject to a stricter interpretation with respect to distance requirements)
Nightclubs, Dance Clubs, etc.
- “Nightclub” is defined to include at least 400 sf of entertainment or dance area
- Nightclubs and other full-scale entertainment uses are prohibited in Local Retail Districts
- Permitted in General Retail and Industrial Districts as Conditional Use with BZA approval, meeting standards (500-foot separation, etc.)
- Current code does not define “nightclub” but appears to permit such uses in General Retail and Industrial Districts
- Nightclubs and other full-scale entertainment uses are now permitted in General Retail and Industrial but are subject to 500-foot separation rules
- New ordinance clarifies that, for restaurants and bars, one off-street parking space is required for each 4 seats both indoors and on patio on private property
- NOTE: Alternatives discussed included reducing the parking requirement for outdoor patios to one parking space for each 8 seats (considering that indoor seating is often less used when outdoor patios are in use). This alternative was also paired with a proposal to require parking for seating in sidewalk café areas, which is not now the case.
- Requires same parking for nightclubs but adds “parking equal to 3 x gross floor area” as alternate calculation (whichever is greater)
- Current code does not specifically address parking for patios. Practice is to treat patios same as indoor space, except to exclude sidewalk café areas
- Current code does not treat nightclubs differently than restaurants for parking