Gilligan’s, county at impasse regarding music hours

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By ChrisAnn Allen

It appears they are deadlocked.
Following a sound study conducted for Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill to measure ambient and live music sound levels, Sarasota County staff and Gilligan’s representatives met in a special magistrate mediation hearing Oct. 31 to discuss the results.
According to Gilligan’s attorney Casey Colburn, as a result of the study and subsequent hearing “the county refused to settle, even though we did everything we were asked to do and we implemented the scope of study that the county approved. The mediator has declared an ‘impasse.’”
The study was performed Sept. 29 by Keane Acoustics of Oldsmar. Gilligan’s is located at 5253 Ocean Blvd. in Siesta Village.
Gilligan’s owner Scott Smith was negotiating with the county toward possibly providing live music past the current required 10 p.m. cutoff. Initially, Smith was pushing for music until 2 a.m. but was willing to end live music at an earlier time, matching sound from neighboring establishments, in an attempt to work with the county.
The study pointed out the excessive sound was coming from street traffic and other, nearby businesses, including the Siesta Key Oyster Bar and the Blase Cafe, which reverberated off of surrounding structures. The study also led to the recommendation of a “stoplight visual sound level meter,” which mimics the actions of the traffic control device to let management know when sound is exceeding the decibel level limitations of the county’s noise ordinance so it can be lowered.
Additionally, sound-dampening materials, including concrete block and vinyl, have already been installed onsite.
However, in response to the sound study, assistant county attorney David Pearce said the study did not do what the county envisioned, which would’ve been to look at the proper location for live entertainment and mitigation.
“The study provided just reaches the conclusion that there is no problem,” Pearce said.
So, in an Oct. 31 addendum, Keane provided indoor and outdoor locations optimal for live music without sound issues, including the “dance floor” and “existing outdoor covered stage.”
Colburn said Nov. 8 the reaction of the county staff was “disappointing.”
“We did what they asked and completed the scope of work at our expense,” he said. “And it showed the surrounding condos are getting bombarded with sound, but none of it is from Gilligan’s. We are doing everything right. There’s no violation of any sounds leaving Gilligan’s.”
Colburn said the next step would be another special magistrate hearing regarding the impasse to determine whether both parties are “reasonably dealing with the matter,” from which the mediator will issue a ruling to be heard by the board of county commissioners.
“Right now, the commission is still in the dark,” Colburn said. “We need to be given a fair opportunity for them to hear it.”

ChrisAnn Allen
Author: ChrisAnn Allen

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