Disagreement in Milford over how to handle noise complaints
Restaurant owner wants complainers to come to him, not the police: But officials say residents should not be expected to stop situations on their own
The Dimmick Inn
MILFORD — After a testy discussion about an old social media post that put the Milford mayor on defense (see related story), a restaurant owner complained at length about what he feels is unequal treatment of his business.
John Jorgenson, owner of Jorgenson's Dimmick Inn, said his business is often unfairly singled out over noise and other matters of compliance. For example, he said, he's required to use expensive materials instead of sturdy but inexpensive materials, like vinyl to frame his windows, but not everyone else in the architectural overlay district complies.
He went so far as to accuse borough officials of calling the Liquor Control Board to complain about noise at the Dimmick while letting other businesses in the borough slide. In one case, he said, the board got in touch with him four months after an incident was resolved with the local police chief.
Borough officials denied ever calling the Liquor Control Board. However, Meagan Kameen, the acting borough council president, said the borough does get calls from residents distressed over disturbances at alcohol-serving establishments. When that happens, she said, officials will explain the law and suggest they call the Liquor Control Board for recourse.
Jorgenson's take is that people should just come to his establishment to let him know, neighbor to neighbor, when there's too much noise.
"Regular citizens are being told to call 911 over music," he said. He put the blame on "a few complainers."
"A guy with a guitar on the porch, with people gathered around — is this really a problem?" asked one man.
Kameen said people call the police because "they're the ones who take action." And Mayor Sean Strub, who owns the Hotel Fauchere, said a neighbor may not want to court a confrontation.
"They don't think that's their job" to go into a bar they're not familiar with and stop a situation on their own, Strub said.
He said someone called the Liquor Control Board on the Fauchere, when a party moved onto the porch over the air conditioning broke. He suggested an objective method — a decibel limit and means of measurement — as the solution to the problem.
It may also be possible to apply to the Liquor Control Board for an exemption, so that only local laws apply, Strub said.
"It's a process to work out with the state," he said.
But Jorgenson still felt that more was expected of his business than others, like the Fauchere, that do what they want to do.
"You have to constantly respect the balance," said Strub. He said there was a difference between "occasional offense and constant offense."