East Greenwich Waterfront Battle: Town Needs Independent Sound Expert, Says Business Owner

Wednesday, March 13, 2019


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BLU on the Water (Photo:FB)

Jared Chelo with BLU on the Water in East Greenwich said that he believes the town will be able to "work out" the issue of neighbors concerned with noise coming from music at waterfront bars. 

On Monday, the Town Council originally considered an ordinance to decrease the allowable amount of decibels at clubs, but then moved instead to form a committee to include numerous stakeholders -- business owners, neighbors, the police and Town Manager -- to address concerns. 

"There's only so much the Town Council can accomplish in a meaningful way to help everyone through an ordinance and through legal action," said Chelo. "I really think we'll accomplish a lot more together by sitting down and hearing each other out and making the best reasonable suggested improvements as advised by a sound expert."

Chelo said that he believes a critical component is the appointment of a sound expert -- without bias. 

"It's key that the Town Council make a motion to retain a sound expert to help facilitate the conversation -- and not one brought in by the businesses, or by the neighbors," said Chelo. "I have faith that they will."

"I think what's important to note [is that] there hasn't been a single noise violation [against Blu] since we opened in 2012," said Chelo. 

"I think it will be great to get people together and hear the pain points. There were other complaints that got touched upon, it was the noise at first but then it came to things such as litter and what impacts the neighborhood," said Chelo. "We want to be a great neighbor -- being a great neighbor and a community partner has been a key recipe to our success for over 60 years."

Original Concerns

On Sunday, Blu had taken to Facebook to express their concerns following Monday's meeting. 

As you may or may not have heard, there’s a movement taking place with the potential to drastically change the East Greenwich summers we’ve all come to know and love. Last Monday, March 4th, a town hall meeting took place in which a new ordinance was introduced - one that would essentially eliminate live outdoor entertainment as a whole, specifically targeting the East Greenwich Waterfront District.

You also may or may not have heard that there were no waterfront district representatives present at the town meeting. That’s embarrassing, but it’s true - because we weren’t notified. No one from BLU. No one from Finn’s. And no one from Nautika.

The new ordinance calls for a sound decibel limit of 60 - that’s about the norm for casual conversation (that’s a fact - Google it). We’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on sound engineers, sound system limiters, sound barriers and other sound proofing materials all in the name of being the best neighbor we possibly can be. Now, the town seeks to unjustly harm our business and your experience as a customer solely to appease the very vocal few - the very vocal few, mind you, who will not be satisfied until live outdoor entertainment is all but gone.

Jobs will be lost. Businesses will close their doors. Tax dollars will disappear, and East Greenwich will be a very, very different place. On behalf of BLU, Finn’s, and Nautika, we urge you to join us at town hall this Monday (March 11th) at 7pm. We all work hard. We all put our best foot forward. We’re all proud of the destination that East Greenwich has become - the one that we’ve helped create, and the one that it should continue to be.

Furthermore, if you love live music in the beautiful outdoor setting that East Greenwich offers, we highly encourage that you let your town council know!

“There’s a lot of different issues that we hope that will be addressed informally — I was told that someone has made a representation that what we’ll do is prohibit live bands — it’s not that,” said Councilman Mike Donegan prior to the meeting. “This is the start of the conversation. We’re trying to strike a balance.”


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