City Commission denies Jax's waiver request

5/7/2014

CORRECTION: Tracy Stoecklein's first name was incorrect in a previous version of this story.

CORRECTION: Tracy Stoecklein's first name was incorrect in a previous version of this story.

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

Tracy Stoecklein is fed up with the noise that rattle his windows whenever Jax Sports Grille has a live band playing outside.

"The bass is just so deep, so damn loud. They're usually in a tent. I don't think you have to have it that loud where people four or five blocks away can hear the music. And when you're in your house listening to this, it drives you up a wall," Stoecklein told the Garden City Commission on Tuesday during discussion of a waiver requested by the bar.

Jax Sports Grille, 1907 E. Mary St., requested a waiver to the city's noise ordinance to allow live music until midnight from June 5 through 7. The business also asked to waive a sign permit fee to allow the display of a temporary sign advertising the Beef Empire Days Rodeo, of which it is a sponsor, and to allow patrons to park in an empty lot east of the building.

Stoecklein, who lives just to the northwest of Jax, said he filed complaints about Jax last summer during other events. He said bands playing outside often went past midnight during those events. He also expressed concern about broken bottles being tossed in his yard and people urinating outside at the bank next door and other properties nearby.

"You can look out there and see people urinating in the yard. I've seen women doing it. They're walking out with booze in their hands, and I know they're not supposed to be doing that. I go out in the morning and find broken beer bottles on my sidewalk, in my yard. It's just stuff like that continuously," he said.

Tim White, director of Homestead Assisted Living, which is located a short distance south and west of Jax, said residents are concerned about the noise during Jax's events.

"A lot of the complaints I've been getting are about the bass thumping, rattling the windows a little bit," White said. "Of course, serving our elders, we want them to be in a comfortable place where they're not hearing a bunch of music. I'm glad we don't have the issues this gentleman said, but I would request it be considered to at least not go past 11 o'clock at night. There's people all around that have to go to work on Friday morning, and we don't need that."

Commissioners denied the waiver requests, but left open the possibility that Jax could re-apply. However, the commission wants the business to better indicate how it will address concerns about excessive noise and other complaints.

"I know we've had other residents come before the commission and express concern about the noise, and how it would rattle windows. We talked about having a little more police presence there and telling them to turn the noise down," Mayor Roy Cessna said.

Commissioner Dan Fankhauser said he understands the neighbors' concerns. Though the property is zoned for commercial business, Fankhauser said Jax is a little bit different. He said the band ought to be limited to 11 p.m.

Commissioner Melvin Dale said if it was a one-time, annual event he wouldn't be as concerned. But, since Jax has several events during the summer, the noise is more of an issue.

Jax may need to consider relocating to an area that would be more receptive to outside events, Commissioner Chris Law said.

"I live in that neighborhood, and I can attest to some of the issues," Law said. "I just think they've outgrown this location with what they're trying to do. I think they need to look for a new location that would allow them to do what they want to do without causing so many problems for the neighborhood. If it's such a good thing, then you can afford to go find a place that accommodates outdoor entertainment better."

Representatives of Jax did not attend Tuesday's commission meeting. When contacted Wednesday, Lindsey Becker, Jax general manager, said she will attend the May 20 commission meeting to talk about the issues more in-depth with commissioners and go from there.

In response to the concerns of neighbors, Becker expressed a willingness to work with them.

"We have a cleaning crew that works for us. If that's an issue (litter), we can definitely take care of it. We don't want people to feel uncomfortable in their own homes. We're willing to take any actions to make sure our event is respectful," she said.

Becker said she wants events at Jax to be good for Jax and for neighbors.

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