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Restaurant retains alcohol license
ST. MARYS -- The St. Marys City Council approved renewing the alcohol license for Borrell Creek Landing at a special meeting Friday.

Council members delayed approving the restaurant's license Monday because of complaints by residents about noise from live bands performing on a deck overlooking a saltwater marsh and the namesake creek.

City Attorney Gary Moore said the city could deny granting a license, even though the restaurant has never been cited for a noise violation, because of the number of nuisance complaints --¬­ 38 the past 18 months -- from nearby residents. If council members would have denied renewal, the restaurant owners would have had to wait a year before applying for a new license, he said.

St. Marys lawyer Bert Guy, who represented the restaurant, said the owners are taking measures to reduce the sound volume by hiring smaller bands. They also plan to install sound baffling that will reduce the volume traveling across the marsh to adjacent neighborhoods.

"This is a new process, and we're working to mitigate it," he said.

Mayor-elect John Morrissey said the goal is for an "amicable, effective and permanent solution."

George Hurley, one resident living nearby, said his complaints have been ineffective.

"Sometimes the volume was reduced, then it went up again," he said. "I hope the city will consider provisional approval of the license."

Moore said provisional approval is not addressed in the city's ordinance, but an alcohol license can be revoked any time.

Another resident, Bob Taylor, said he is disappointed in the restaurant's effort to reduce the volume, so far. But another neighbor, Royce Montgomery, said he liked the music, and said noise from motorcycles, trucks and aircraft can also be heard in his neighborhood.

Alfred Wong, the restaurant's manager, said sound baffling that should be ready in about a week is custom-made and should reduce sound heard by neighbors by 60 to 70 percent. "I'm trying my best to make it work for both sides," he said.

Before the vote, Councilman Jim Gant said complaints have gone on for nearly 18 months and something must be done. But nobody at the meeting said they wanted to see the restaurant's license denied.

After the vote, Morrissey said the restaurant owners have been placed on notice the noise complaints have to stop.

"The expectation of performance is clearly stated," he said. "St. Marys doesn't want to put anybody out of business."

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at, on Facebook or at 464-7655.

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