The Regal Beagle has a history of illegally annoying its neighbors with noise, but a year of good behavior by the west Chandler bar prompted the City Council Thursday to loosen its leash.
The council voted 5-1 to renew the bar’s permit to operate on the southwest corner of Chandler Boulevard and Kyrene Road, along with the right to play amplified music on its outdoor patio.
“On the condition that they don’t bother the neighbors and that this is limited to one year so we can keep an eye on it,” said Bill Dermody, a city senior planner.
One woman who lives in the neighborhood just across Kyrene Road from the bar, Jan Hoskovec, began documenting the bar’s transgressions in March 2008. Over the course of about eight months, Hoskovec repeatedly called the bar to let them know she could hear the music, sometimes louder than her television, in her home after 10 p.m. The bar is open every day until 2 a.m.
“The music is so loud that I can be in the back of my house, watching TV, and I can hear the bar,” Hoskovec wrote in one entry from October 2008. “If I step outside, I can hear the words of the song being sung.”
Her calls to the bar mainly went unheeded, according to Hoskovec.
But a few weeks later, the Regal Beagle’s use permit came up for renewal, and Hoskovec discovered its existing permit prohibited amplified music outdoors. She presented her documents to Dermody.
“They illegally had outdoor music that was amplified,” Dermody said.
The city granted the bar a one-year permit on the condition that amplified music remain indoors, with only acoustic music without speakers allowed on the outdoor patio. Dermody said the bar has complied, and the complaints from neighbors have ceased.
“In the past year there have not been violations that we know of,” he said.
But bar owner Greg Stanfield has been slow to kiss and make up. In November, at a neighborhood meeting with city staff and nearby residents, Stanfield took a belligerent tone with neighbors, according to both Hoskovec and Dermody.
“The owner of the restaurant was, I would say, combative with the neighbors,” Dermody said.
Raul Garza, who identified himself as a consultant on behalf of the Regal Beagle in a Nov. 9 letter to city officials, claimed the prohibition on amplified outdoor music over the last year has been a hardship.
“This stipulation has hurt our business and financial situation significantly,” Garza wrote. “We have also lost the ‘base’ tenant in our complex when Bashas’ grocery store shut down during the summer.”
In its latest use permit application, which the council approved Thursday, the bar requested the restriction be removed. Dermody said neighbors are concerned that the bar may go back to its old ways.
“They’re afraid it will revert to that situation,” he said.
The permit would grant the Regal Beagle the right to play amplified music outside on two nights per week from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., but prohibits the use of speakers that produce a thumping bass and requires that speakers be moved off the ground and no larger than 14 inches in diameter. The permit is limited to one year, serving as a trial period for the bar, and could be revoked if the bar violates its terms.
Stanfield said he would abide by the restrictions.
“Whatever the city wants, I have been in agreement,” he said.
He told the council he apologized for his past behavior if neighbors “took it the wrong way” and attempted to blame the previous noise violations on a musical act that often played at the bar.
“The entertainer that was out there felt he didn’t have to abide by the rules,” Stanfield said.
City Council members said Stanfield, as owner, is responsible for noise at his bar, and that he should train his managers to respond to complaints if he’s not available.
“Your managers need to be on their toes and be aware of what these requirements are and be able to enforce them,”” said Mayor Boyd Dunn. “If we’re OK a year from now, maybe we can put this to rest.”
Council member Rick Heumann cast the sole vote against the permit, citing the bar’s previous failure to live up to its requirements.
“This was a use permit that your establishment had been given, and you violated that use permit,” he said.