LEE -- The Board of Selectmen has issued a temporary enhanced entertainment license to a restaurant that a neighboring business fears is becoming a boisterous night club.
The three-member board Tuesday night voted 2-0, with Gordon Bailey absent, to grant Sullivan Station permission to allow musical groups up to four people to perform at most twice a month from January through March.
Under the three-month grace period, the board will only allow amplified vocals with acoustic accompaniment at the Railroad Street eatery.
The restaurant's current license allows for up to a two-person group with amplified vocals only.
The board's decision came over the objections of Bob and Olga Healey, owners of Chambery Inn across the street.
The Healeys claim the restaurant owners have a poor track record with noise emanating from their establishment, especially when large musical groups perform.
Bob Healey noted some guests complained they were awakened by a late night gig this fall at Sullivan Station -- an incident Healey worries could drive away future visitors to the inn.
The Selectmen had issued a special one-night entertainment license to allow for a six-member band to play.
"I have people calling me about what's going on with the ‘night club' behind us," he told the board.
While the Selectmen are willing to give Sullivan Station owners a chance to redeem themselves, they noted that they are on a short leash with the revamped license.
"The three months isn't an absolute," said David Consolati. "This could be as short as one event."
"If they don't follow the rules, [their entertainment] will be shut down," added board Chairwoman Patricia Carlino.
If Sullivan Station is incident-free after three months, the board could make the revised entertainment license permanent.
The restaurant's attorney, Don Hunter, said his client would abide by the conditions of the license and minimize the impact of the live music being heard outside the restaurant.
"One problem was the location of the [stage]," Hunter said. "We've moved the location of the players themselves."
Nevertheless, Healey felt the three-month trial period was a waste of time. He said the restaurant owners had been unwilling to resolve the matter with him.
"In my position, this [restaurant] is grasping at straws and they are going to take us down with them," Healey said.
Consolati urged both businesses to call a truce as both are important to the town's economy.
"We have two different businesses trying to be successful," Consolati said. "I would like you two to get along with each other."