Alan and Sally Brown said they can hear the bass beat and the voices of patrons at neighboring MemoryLane Music Hall in Standish just as plainly if they were in their driveway.

“It wakes me from a dead sleep,” said Sally Brown, who has lived on Blake Road with her husband since 1976. They are not the only neighbors complaining about the noise coming from the nightclub. Cara and Tom Childs also said they can feel the bass beat of the music in their living room, a half-mile down the road.

MemoryLane owners Jim Paquette and Diane York, who opened the nightclub in September 2006, said they are following town rules and trying to be good neighbors. “I don’t know what more we can do. We’re complying with all the rules,” said Paquette.

Paquette and York said they have never received a citation from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and they comply with the town noise ordinance.

In response to suggestions from neighbors, York and Paquette said they built a fence surrounding the outdoor smoking area and hired a consultant from SE Ambrose & Associates in Windham to measure the sound level. The consultant, Stephen Ambrose, concluded in October that MemoryLane complied with the town limit and that “music was faintly or barely audible.”

The music is audible to Childs and her husband, Tom, who moved to Standish in 2003. When they arrived, a church group was leasing the building that now houses Memory Lane. Before that, the building was home to the Country Crossroads dance hall, where patrons brought their own alcohol, for 20 years.

Childs said she and her husband have called the sheriff’s office around four times since Memory Lane opened. “There’s no point in calling them,” Childs said, pointing to the fact that the sheriff’s department doesn’t have a decibel meter. “It won’t lead us anywhere.”

Lt. Tom Williams of the sheriff’s office said that when they receive a noise complaint, a deputy will respond to the scene or to the area and make a judgment as to whether or not the noise level is reasonable for the time of day.

If they find the noise level unreasonable, deputies will tell the business or individual to turn the noise down and close their doors.

Since January 2007, the sheriff’s office has received 23 calls about MemoryLane related to disturbances or fights. Of these calls, eight noise complaints were deemed unfounded by the responding deputy. In four cases a deputy asked MemoryLane to turn down the music, which they did. Three calls were unrelated to the bar, two calls were for fights, and six calls were in relation to intoxicated patrons.

Still, when York and Paquette sought to renew the club liquor license last fall, Childs and her husband gathered signatures from neighbors upset by club noise to bring to the town council. Nearly everyone who lived on the road signed the petition, according to Childs, yet the town council voted to renew the nightclub’s liquor license.

“It’s been an ongoing issue,” said Town Councilor Carolyn Beigel, who said that the council disagrees as to what its role is in the situation. Residents of Blake Road have been coming to the council to complain about the noise for nearly as long as the nightclub has been open. “I think it’s appropriate for the council to take action,” said Beigel.

“The council’s role is to listen to a situation when it does occur and see if ordinances are being broken,” said Councilor Terence Christy, who declined to comment further. Councilor Louis Stack also declined to comment.

Guidelines for the town’s special amusement permit state that music should not exceed 50 decibels when measured at the property boundary. The same ordinance reads that clearly audible noise that is irritating to neighbors and is detrimental to their public health, safety or welfare should lead the town council to consider denying or revoking the amusement permit.

Town Councilor Wayne Newbegin, chairman of the ordinance committee, said that the noise ordinance will likely be on the agenda for the committee’s June meeting.

“I hope that our town will adopt an ordinance that will make it so we don’t have to hear music and patrons outside,” said Alan Brown.

Recently York filed an amendment to the club liquor license to be able to serve alcohol outside. She has little hope that the council will approve the amendment.

“It’s very difficult to run a business when you feel that you’re not wanted,” said Paquette, adding that they were thinking about moving. In the meantime, they bought a sound system to prevent performers from using their own. They will also post a sign warning customers against burn outs and loud exhaust noises.

“Last summer was treacherous,” said Childs. “I would like to live in my house without knowing that they’re there.”

Memory Lane Music Hall Co-owners Jim Paquette of Saco and Diane York of Windham, say that before they even opened neighbors complained about the noise. “I knew we were probably going to have to do stuff differently,” said Paquette.“We can hear and feel the music in our living room,” said Cara Childs, of Standish. Childs and her husband, Tom, are upset about loud music and clients coming from Memory Lane Music Hall on Blake Road. The couple lives approximately a half-mile from the club.


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