The battle over the volume of music at Belmont’s Bel Rio restaurant continues, Rachana Dixit writes in today’s Daily Progress. City Council overhauled the noise ordinance a few months ago just to deal with Bel Rio, and city staff seem to be spending a lot of time on the matter, but a technical problem seems to be hampering the efforts: the fact that decibel meters have a hard time measuring the sort of deep, thumpy bass that can make life miserable for folks who live next to music-playing neighbors (though the maker of the meter they use disagrees). Neighbors on the formerly sleepy street are infuriated by the two-year-old restaurant’s behavior, saying that it’s really reduced their quality of life there.
We dealt with the same scenario back in the mid-nineties with the Jewish Mother, a restaurant on the Downtown Mall that featured noisy live music until very late at night, which was awfully frustrating for downtown residents. As with Bel Rio, the city had to consider proposed changes to a city-wide noise ordinance just to deal with the one rude restaurant owner. Luckily, the Jew Mom went out of business, and that was the end of that. When I lived on South Street in the mid-nineties, the South Street Brewery opened up next door, and my quiet apartment was rendered uninhabitable on Friday and Saturday nights, when they featured live music about twenty feet from my head until the wee hours of the morning. I moved out when my lease was up. I’ve got nothing but sympathy for Bel Rio’s neighbors.