New Berlin - Let the music play. That was the decision of the New Berlin Plan Commission on Monday as it gave the go-ahead for the Quaker Steak & Lube's schedule of 48 outdoor concerts from May through mid-September.
But one commissioner warned that there had better not be noise complaints like last summer.
"If there is a problem this year, I will strongly oppose this next year," said Alderman David Ament, who sits on the commission.
Mayor Jack Chiovatero said he has spoken with the restaurant management and they are trying to do whatever they can to eliminate problems.
The restaurant is buying its own sound equipment to better control the volume, Chiovatero said, and it will have a tent to try to keep sound from blowing toward homes. The restaurant owner has already assured that the speakers would be aimed away from homes.
"They are aware this is a trial period," he said.
The commission was willing to give the new volume control measures a chance.
Even Ament said, "I'm confident the management will live up to its promises."
Only three weeks ago, the Plan Commission listened to numerous restaurant neighbors protesting the noise from the concerts last year, the first year Quaker Steak & Lube, 4900 S. Moorland Road, held them.
Next year at this time, the Plan Commission will evaluate how the 2013 season went. If there are no problems, the commission will approve the concerts for a third year. After that, a conditional-use permit from the commission will not be needed. Annual staff approval for each concert season will be enough.
Staff approval is the normal process for outdoor concerts. Plan Commission approval is only needed if there are complaints.
While some neighbors told the commission the concerts reduce their quality of life, others said the concerts enhance entertainment opportunities close to home. The concerts accompany the restaurant's Wednesday Bike Night and its Thursday Car Cruise.
Speakers said they loved to have someplace to go and relax with friends and that the concerts are fun for the whole family. The whole atmosphere is fun and friendly, they said.
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