The amplified music permit for the Rye Tavern allows the popular Pinehills restaurant to have two musicians and one microphone at a time.
For many residents living nearby, that’s too much. And in response, the Board of Selectmen held a formal hearing Tuesday night to review the restaurant’s music permit.
Selectmen heard from residents of Hitching Post, the street that runs west of the Rye Tavern, who say that the music is too loud. One neighbor, Ed Murphy, described his windows rattling from the sound coming from the restaurant. Worst off all may be the increasing number of weddings taking place there. Murphy called them “unbelievably disruptive,” adding that he can’t concentrate on what he’s doing as he can hear everything from the music to announcements during the festivities. He added that he doesn’t want disrupt them with his complaints.
Residents have been complaining about the noise for the last two years, Murphy said. Most recently, they’ve resorted to calling the police, Hitching Post resident Elaine Alpern said. Unfortunately, according to her, while the music goes down when they show up, it goes back up when they leave.
Rye Tavern co-owner Nathan Withington pushed back against the complaints, saying that patrons have never complained about the volume, yet “people who live two football fields away continually call the police.” He presented a petition signed by, he said, over 100 Rye Tavern patrons in support of the restaurant. “We’ve done nothing wrong but establish a successful restaurant, “ he said. However, Withington said he took the complaints seriously.
Regarding the distance sound travels, Selectman Shelagh Joyce said she can hear all the details from Plymouth South High School football games from her house near Sacrifice Rock Road.
Manomet businessman Paul Churchill spoke in defense of the Rye Tavern. He argued the complaints were an attempt to shut down the restaurant, adding that he would be forced out of business if neighbors complained about the noise his trucks make.
It’s not just the music though. Trash is picked up from the restaurant at 4 a.m., a situation that lead to some detective work on the part of Hitching Post resident Dennis Duckett and a mea culpa from the Rye Tavern’s management. According to Duckett, when he complained to the restaurant’s manager she insisted the trash wasn’t being picked up that early. Duckett then, he said, parked his car near the restaurant at the appointed hour and photographed the pre-dawn pickup. When he called ABC Trash Removal, they insisted that didn’t happen, despite his evidence. Rye Tavern Manager Jessica Mulholland said she was unaware that the trash pickup was so early and promised to speak with ABC about having it occur no earlier than 7 a.m. Duckett, however, wants the pickup time set to 9 a.m.
Speaking on behalf of the Rye Tavern, attorney Bob Betters noted the zoning which created the Pinehills allows for a mix of commercial and residential uses. He explained the permit allowing for music limits it to two musicians and a microphone between the hours of 1 and 9 p.m. Mulholland admitted that the David James Duo, who frequently play there, often bring up guests to perform with them. Music is performed there only a few days a week, Betters said.
With only one wedding and one more musical performer scheduled before the spring, Selectmen opted to take no action and re-open the hearing in January. Betters said he hoped a compromise could be worked out, though Duckett, for his part, said the amplified music permit should be revoked.