The shows will go on at a Standish nightclub, but owners of Memory Lane Music Hall must adhere to additional conditions to stay open another year.

Discussions about whether the club’s liquor license and special amusement permit should be renewed took 3 1/2 hours at the Tuesday meeting of the Standish Town Council.

The Town Council remained split on the issue, voting 4-3 to renew the nightclub’s liquor license and 5-2 to renew the special amusement permit. Both permits were approved with requirements for future action.

The nightclub on Blake Road has been a source of contention between some neighbors and owners Jim Paquette and Diane York nearly since it opened in September 2006.

For the renewed liquor license, an amendment was added that banned serving or drinking alcohol outside the building.

Amendments to the renewed special amusement permit mandated placing one uniformed security guard in the parking lot whenever the nightclub was open and another by the road from 9 p.m. to one half hour after closing.

The amendment also required the nightclub to work with neighbors and replace the sign at the end of the driveway that pointed patrons towards Route 25 and not down Blake Road.

A separate amendment required the nightclub to lower the bass beat so it would be acceptable to neighbors. Despite questions about how this would be assessed, the amendment passed 4-3.

Last year’s renewal of Memory Lane’s permits included requirements to work with neighbors, install a sign pointing patrons towards Route 25 instead of down Blake Road and hire a security guard for the parking lot.

Paquette and York have also installed double doors, a sound system, air conditioning and a fence around the outdoor seating area, as well as carpeting the floor and walls of the stage. According to Paquette, these renovations cost them more than $30,000.

“I don’t know how much more we can afford to do,” York said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Some neighbors, however, said the sound of music, people and motorcycle engines bothers them at their homes. Blake Road residents Tom Childs and Eva Lindberg questioned whether the location on Blake Road was the best one for a bar. Though Memory Lane is in a commercial zone, it is close to a residential zone.

“We deserve a right to peace and quiet too,” said Cara Childs, adding that it makes her anxious to drive on her road at 12:30 a.m. and she and her husband can hear music and vehicles from their home around half a mile from Memory Lane.

“The neighbors have asked for simple consideration,” said Town Councilor Carolyn Biegel, who voted against the renewals.

Owners, staff, patrons and friends argued that the nightclub has contributed to the community and worked hard to accommodate neighbors, pointing out that the nightclub is hosting a dance for adults with special needs on Sunday and has held a benefit dance to help send competitors to the Special Olympics.

“I think many things have changed, at least on our part,” said kitchen manager at Memory Lane Frank O’Hara. Ultimately, O’Hara said, the nightclub received no violations or citations and Paquette went above and beyond to accommodate neighbors.

Before the building housed Memory Lane it was a church, and before that the building housed a bottle club called Country Crossroads, where patrons carried in their own alcohol, for 20 years.

The council invited Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Kevin Joyce to come to Tuesday’s public hearing, the first time he has been asked to testify at a license renewal in his two years as chief deputy, Joyce said.

Councilors asked Joyce to compare Memory Lane to other nightclubs. Joyce cited statistics that Memory Lane was mentioned in 71 calls and incidents in 2007.

Fifteen of those incidents were related to arrests for operating under the influence that mentioned Memory Lane. The sheriff’s office received 19 calls for alarms, 16 for disturbances and six from threatening, fighting and the like. Only four of those calls resulted in a report being filed, Joyce said, explaining that a report is only filed if there is a victim.

In response to suggestions from councilors that Memory Lane hire a uniformed deputy on Friday and Saturday nights, Joyce said the sheriff’s office did not have enough staff to place a uniformed officer at the nightclub twice a week and did not allow deputies to work second jobs as security guards.


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