The South Portland City Council approved an amusement permit on appeal for the Spring Point Tavern Monday night, after patrons packed the council chambers to protest its denial.

South Portland Police Chief Edward Googins had denied the license because of 17 noise complaints in the last 10 months, according to City Clerk Susan Mooney. City councilors overturned that denial unanimously.

“If there is no entertainment, there is no business,” said Charles Bean, a lawyer for David Cram, the owner of the tavern, located at 175 Pickett St.

Bean said income over the previous years shows this to be true. He said the tavern already has plans underway to reduce the noise with a roughly $8,000 budget to insulate ceilings, halls and doorways from the neighborhood.

“This is a resolvable matter,” said Bean, who presented a petition from patrons of the establishment that he said carried about 400 signatures.

The amusement permit allows the cafA?© to have bands and electronic music, such as a jukebox. Bean recommended the council support a permit with conditions that noise problems be solved.

Jim Ortiz, president of Southern Maine Community College, spoke out against the tavern. He said the establishment was detrimental to the education of students at the school. He said the place promoted an image of the movie Animal House, and students likened this image to their own educational experience.

Julie Newcomb, of 44 Myrtle Ave., spoke in favor of the tavern, saying the owners had helped raise money for friends and family who needed help battling cancer.

Ron MacDonald, of 375 Preble St., said he lived around the corner from the tavern where he also plays music occasionally. He said the tavern customers consist mostly of locals who get together to have drinks after work. He said one night when the police came and told the tavern to close down because of noise complaints, the police said they couldn’t even hear any noise outside. He said certain residents just wanted the place shut down, regardless of noise.

The council voted unanimously to approve of the permit, but with conditions. These conditions included completing sound proofing work in 30 days, stopping music by midnight and keeping doors and windows closed at all times. Police will report all noise complaints they receive to councilors. The license is extended until only August of 2007.

In other news, city councilors balked at taking a stance on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, voting 7-0 against taking a position on the referendum to avoid influencing the vote.

Julie Newcomb, of 44 Myrtle Ave., speaks to the city council on Monday, Oct. 16, night in favor of the Spring Point Tavern.


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