BRADENTON -- Neighbors complaining they would be disturbed by noise at The Bearded Clam Waterfront Restaurant & Tiki Bar won over Manatee county commissioners Thursday.
With many of the restaurant’s 35 employees turning up in support of changes to its current zoning, and a good contingent of neighbors opposing a change, the commission heard plenty.
It decided in a 4-3 vote to stick with the recommendation of the county staff, which supported continued restrictions on amplified outdoor music at the restaurant, which also has a tiki bar that was added by a previous owner without county zoning approval.
“Please do not allow the current tiki bar owners to return our neighborhood to the late 1990s, when parking clogged the streets and loud music rattled our homes for hours on end,” said Tim Rocklein, president of the Whitfield-Ballentine Manor Association, referring to trouble caused by a previous owner of the property.
While neighbors hoped the business at the Ramada Waterfront at 7150 N. Tamiami Trail would thrive, “no establishment had the right to strip fundamental protections from its neighbors in order to succeed,” he told the commission.
Attorney Bill Galvano, representing owners Wesley Rose and Terri Pulaski, asked that the commission hold them to the existing noise ordinance that applies to everyone else in Manatee County.
If it did not approve changes, they would be required to observe a more stringent standard than their neighbors would, he noted.
“From an enforcement standpoint, it’s a nightmare,” Galvano said.
Justin Anderson, a chef at the restaurant, testified he was unemployed until the owners hired him, adding, “Now, I’m making it. If it keeps going down, I’m not going to be able to afford where I live.”
Carl Scarlott, a bartender, said he had been laid off and had moved here from West Palm Beach before he was hired by the restaurant.
He told commissioners that if they loosened restrictions on outdoor music, it would increase business by 20 percent.
Commissioners Robin DiSabatino, Joe McClash, Michael Gallen and John Chappie sided with the staff’s recommendation. Larry Bustle, Donna Hayes and Carol Whitmore voted against it.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.