The Camden County Planning Commmission has reversed its denial of a conditional use permit (CUP) for Paradise Tropical Restaurant & Bar which will allow the lakefront establishment to have outdoor music.
The permit approves the concept of outdoor music with mitigating sound abatement walls and roof and certain other stipulations.
A deferral agreement to allow Paradise to continue as is for the rest of the year was also approved. Paradise will continue to play outdoor music this season without any structural changes while designs for sound abatement are finalized and constructed.
The restaurant and bar must still get a re-plat and rezoning of a small section of property adjacent to the business that is currently zoned single family residential. The residential property is owned by George Tucker, owner of Paradise.
Part of the new sound abatement structure will be located on this strip of land. It is also needed to provide the required 20-foot side setback to the property line.
If parking requirements can be met, additional seating may also be located under the new roofed area created by the new sound abatement structure space.
Other stipulations on the CUP include limited hours for the outdoor music, Ameren Missouri approval of possible lake encroachment of a sound abatement wall and a "best effort" by management and staff to limit noise and rowdiness of customers. Outdoor music must end at 9 p.m. on Sundays, at 10 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays and 11 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and holidays.
The CUP will also include a contractual agreement between the county and Paradise to help ensure the noise abatement stipulations are done.
In the next 60 days, Paradise must also be able to show that they are making a "good faith effort" toward coming into compliance with the CUP stipulations and noise mitigation.
The commission unanimously approved the CUP Wednesday evening in a re-examination procedure allowed under Article 10 of the bylaws of P&Z when new information on a CUP is presented following a denial.
The Paradise CUP initially failed in a split four to four vote at the May planning commission meeting.
For the re-examination to take place, just one of the members voting against the CUP had to ask to re-open the case. Chair Jerry Carroll made the motion to re-open the case June 19.
Paradise attorney Greg Williams presented the commission with an estimate on the cost to enclose the outdoor deck at the restaurant where music is played. Columbia Associates of Columbia, Mo. projected the project would require a complete redesign and reconstruction that would cost $459,000 with foundation upgrades, roof structure, mechanical and electrical system upgrades including ventilation. The estimate included a 25 percent, or $92,000, contingency cushion.
Page 2 of 3 - The project was not financially feasible for owner George Tucker, according to Williams.
An enclosure of the addition would also change the aesthetics of the business and would mean a substantial departure from the ambience that Paradise now has.
"It wouldn't be Paradise anymore," Williams said.
Camden County P&Z Administrator Don Hathaway also presented an email from former Paradise owner John Civitate. Hathaway said he called Civitate and verified the email.
According to Hathaway, Civitate said he had played outdoor recorded music from speakers along a walkway to the restaurant and outdoors at the restaurant prior to the implementation of P&Z in 2004.
Neighboring residents against the CUP have said that the restaurant did not have outdoor music, or that the music was not loud enough to be a problem.
While the old part of the restaurant may be grandfathered, the outdoor music at Paradise is currently located in expansion from 2009.
The planning commission's audio recording of the Nov. 20, 2007 meeting included a discussion that commissioners would approve B-1 zoning — instead of the originally requested B-2 on a strip of residential property next door that was used for the expansion — so that outdoor music would not be allowed.
Notices of violation for playing outdoor music were subsequently issued by the P&Z office to Paradise on Feb. 28, 2011, May 21, 2012 and July 25, 2012.
Williams said the commission could either grant the CUP with its effort at noise mitigation or the music could be moved back to the old part of the establishment.
A letter signed by 16 residents living near the restaurant and bar asked the commissioners to deny the option to review the CUP.
"You would be publicly endorsing the trampling of every individual citizens rights in favor of a business in violation of the code," the letter stated, citing the three notices of violation that the county has issued to Paradise over the last three years.
Since the denial in May, Paradise has continued to play music outdoors with advertising featuring their live outside music.
Planning Commissioner Norm Buechting called the conflict between homeowners and business owner an"unsolveable problem" of the clash between the two disparate cultures at the Lake of the Ozarks — those who come here for serenity and those who come here to party.
But he added that we have to work through it and "learn to live with it."
The sound abatement architecture at Paradise seems to be the county's experiment in mitigating noise from outdoor lakefront bars.
The sound panels are expected to lessen the noise but will not eliminate it. It is unknown whether the sound abatement will quiet the amplified music enough to satisfy nearby homeowners.
Page 3 of 3 - Paradise neighbor Richard Danowsky entreated the commission not to approve the CUP to no avail. He has an ongoing lawsuit against Paradise over the noise seeking an injunction to stop the outdoor music.
Dawnosky said the CUP should not be approved because noise is one of the reasons not to approve a CUP under the Unified Land Use Code.
"With the wind and the water and terrain, the buffering won't stop the noise," he said. We have a right not to be disturbed. Having a business is a privilege not a right. We need you to represent the people and do what's right — not what's convenient."
Danowsky also questioned how the commission could consider the cost of enclosure to Tucker but not the cost of the outdoor music to the residents. He had previously presented the commission with a certified appraisal stating that outdoor music lowered the residential property values of the neighborhood by approximately 20 percent on top of loss in value from an already soft market.
Planning Commissioner Nancy Osborne said that eight of 10 people move to the lake area to go to places like Paradise. It is unknown where she got this statistic.