Council looks to shut down emerging nightclub scene

Council looks to shut down emerging nightclub scene

NORTH PROVIDENCE – This town is still a bedroom community and should stay as such, say members of the Town Council, who are voicing strong concerns about a seemingly relatively new phenomenon of restaurants functioning as disruptive nightclubs.

“The issue we’re facing in this town is these places thinking they can run like nightclubs,” Council President Dino Autiello told The Breeze. “This is becoming a problem.”

Unfortunately, he said, business owners are coming before the council and misrepresenting what they plan to do, and the resulting outcomes are leading to diminished quality of life in a town where residential neighborhoods back right up to the establishments.

Autiello says he feels badly for landlords, as they have bills to pay as well, but “residents should not have to be dealing with what they’re dealing with right now.”

The council is planning a hearing on June 21 to hear residents’ concerns on operations at the Hollywood Bar & Lounge at 1759 Mineral Spring Ave. and the 787 Restaurant & Lounge at 1270 Mineral Spring Ave.

“We have a challenge ahead of us, and I’m really not happy with what I’m seeing,” said Autiello.

Because Autiello believes both establishments misrepresented what they planned to do, and the fact that residents continue to be impacted severely by the nightly occurrences at them, he’ll advocate for licenses to be pulled from both, and expects both to appeal to the Department of Business Regulation. The issue with the council pulling licenses and shutting down establishments early in the week, he said, is that they can be back up and running by the weekend.

At the June 1 Town Council meeting, Rockwell Street resident Traci Taglione and her neighbors, living behind Lowe’s and near Hollywood Bar & Lounge, described a near-constant disturbance of the peace by patrons of the establishment since it opened a year ago. She said there are not nearly enough parking spots, at a total of 16 spots in the front and rear, and said patrons are constantly parking on residents’ lawns despite the presence of no-parking signs and cones put out to prevent parking, as well as urinating by men and women coming from the bar, depositing of trash nightly, including broken glass, and constantly turning around in driveways as patrons look for parking.

“As taxpayers of the town, we should not have to guard our property and worry about the safety of our families as folks engage in lewd and drunken acts,” she said. “We also should not have to live with traffic cones as a permanent fixture on the street.”

Taglione was before the council seeking a police presence at Hollywood, and councilors agreed, requiring it on Saturdays with potential for more nights in the future. Councilor Ron Baccala said the police requirement is needed at the very least to watch for disturbance of the peace and make sure trash isn’t left behind.

Autiello said Councilor Mario Martone’s experience as an attorney working on these types of situations in his day job is invaluable to the council. There is nothing wrong with a restaurant or even lounge coming into North Providence, he said, but they’re turning into nightclubs, and the video evidence residents are sending council members to show that reality is pretty powerful. He said he understands times are changing, but the council and mayor want to see North Providence stay as a bedroom community.

This current council is a talented one and one of the most responsive he’s seen to residents’ concerns, said Autiello. They’re simply “not going to continue to tolerate this nightclub behavior in the town of North Providence.” Councilors in District 1, Baccala and Steven Loporchio, have been all over the situation at the Hollywood, he said.

Loporchio said the council really needs to put its foot down on the situation. Loporchio, who asked residents to be patient with the council as they seek to make these ongoing issues disappear, said he spoke with Chief Alfredo Ruggiero who’s aware of the situation and very much in agreement with the requirement for a police detail.

Council attorney Mark Welch said there are a number of options available to the council when they have representatives from the Hollywood and 787 before them for a hearing on June 21, including license suspension, revocation, or a fine.

Abdou Sidibe, of 14 Rockwell St. and an active duty member of the military, echoed Taglione, saying his house is the first one after Hollywood Lounge so he sees the worst of what’s done by patrons as they leave. He said his property has been vandalized twice, with rocks thrown through glass, and the situation simply can’t continue as it is now. He said he’s constantly outside cleaning up trash in his yard, that he and his neighbors can barely sleep at night, and that patrons of the bar remove the cones he and his neighbors place at their yards and regularly park on the grass.

Martone asked that the council send a letter to the Police Department asking officers to tag every car with a ticket and tow them if necessary for their owners parking in a zone with no-parking signs. He said such an action would simply be enforcing existing laws and would not impact due process for the business.

Baccala said he also wants all police reports related to happenings at the Hollywood Lounge.

Also at the May 1 meeting, Councilor Stefano Famiglietti sought a review of licenses at the 787, a matter that will also be heard on June 21. He referenced a petition going around among neighbors seeking revocation of licenses there after repeated issues every month. Councilor Ken Amoriggi said there’s an abundance of evidence, discussed repeatedly in the past, that the owners there run the establishment as they see fit. Autiello said the council simply needs to do what it can to protect neighbors.

Famiglietti also asked fire personnel to visit the 787 on a regular basis to make sure they’re complying with fire codes and to shut them down if they’re not.

The Breeze reported in April that the council was requiring the 787 to maintain a police detail on weekend nights and that they wouldn’t be allowed to open without that police presence.

No representatives from either establishment spoke in defense of their establishments at the May 1 meeting.

Comments

I assure you that this is a problem. Its a loud and destructive problem and we don't want to be that kind of town. We are a bedroom town and there is no place for drunken baloney; too many kids and families to deal with the worrisome behaviors these establishments have going on. They are not respecting the taxpayers and in that vein, they don't belong here. Time to pressure the landlords to manage their issues or they will have to pay the price. And for the business owners, you owe us! Many of us have been here for decades and we don't need this in our town. How would you like it if we bumped tunes and tore up your yard every night? Oh and then the drunk driving and speeding down Douglas or Smithfield Rd when the bars close. Exactly..........do better!