Blackballed Moto: Did 'biker bar' hunches doom Saloon?

Across the street from one of the more quiet businesses in town, tombstone retailer W. A. Hartman Memorials on East Market Street, a neighborhood kerfuffle over music came to an end recently when Charlottesville City Council laid to rest the Black Market Moto Saloon's bid for a music hall permit.

The decision followed a 5-1 nod for a special use permit by the Charlottesville Planning Commission, based on a city staff report that determined a music hall would have no substantially adverse effects on the neighborhood. As one long-time Commission member told the Hook, such near-unanimous recommendations are "rarely" rejected.

So what happened?

Shortly after opening in January, Moto Saloon owner Matteus Frankovich began hosting music in the light industrial zone space at the corner of Meade and East Market without a special use permit, a flouting of the law that prompted some neighbor outrage, a city crack-down, and temporary closure of the venue. Ironically, according to police reports, almost all the noise complaints in the area stemmed from noise at the nearby LunchBox, which also briefly hosted unpermitted music events, but it was the Moto Saloon that would take the brunt of the neighborhood's wrath. 

Frankovich eventually applied for the permit and took his case to the Charlottesville Planning Commission, along with 500 signatures on a pro-music petition, as well as a room full of supporters. The city staff report showed that a music hall at the fledgling business would have no adverse impact on traffic, parking, economic development, historic preservation, housing availability, or peace and quiet.

Still, to appease neighbors who had concerns about noise and disruptive behavior, staff recommended a host of restrictions, including no music on Sundays and Mondays, no music after 10:30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and not after 12:30am on Friday and Saturday. And no outdoor gigs past 7pm.

Whats more, Frankovich, who lives in the neighborhood, says he had already installed soundproofing on the interior and would stand outside during shows to ensure sound levels were reasonable.

City Council, however, shot down the request on October 1 in a 4-1 vote.

Councilor Kathy Galvin, an architect who specializes in neighborhood design and planning, says she "respectfully disagreed" with the Planning Commission and that after "countless emails and interviews with neighborhood residents on both sides of the issue" she determined that live music was not "harmonious with the existing patterns of use in the neighborhood."

Bill Emory, a Woolen Mills resident and former Commissioner (and Hook contributor), asserts the PC was perhaps too quick to craft a compromise, instead of interpreting the zoning.

"I think they may have been influenced by the earnest young citizens in the room," says Emory.

Fellow resident Robin Hanes applauds Council for "taking a stand" for long-time residents. "Amplified music and client behaviors stirred up after drinking and carousing should have more distance from a neighborhood," she says.

Frankovich points out that he had letters of support from dozens of Woolen Mills residents, who were delighted by what they saw as a neighborhood amenity.

"I'm really upset," says Frankovich, "I thought a reasonable compromise was worked out, but City Council just wiped it off the table."

Frankovich contends that the reasons given for the denial, especially from Galvin, were "subjective" and that a "small interest group" drove the decision.

Woolen Mills residents do have a history of fighting for what they believe is right. In April, Hanes was arrested and charged with trespassing when she tried to block the removal of a Norway spruce on private property, a protest against the removal of six "iconic" trees for the development of a new single-family residence. Woolen Mill-ites have also battled development, zoning issues, and the powerful Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority over a stinky sewage facility in their midst, one of the main reasons why the RWSA recently chose to build a new $40 million pumping facility.

Although a pre-vote public decibel test conducted by police found that noise levels fell far below the 75-decibel allowance, Galvin cites the "disruptive" period of time that the Moto Saloon hosted unpermitted music as the "full, live impact of the proposed use."

Dave Norris, the lone City Council supporter of the permit, disagrees. He says the name gave some uninformed neighbors the impression that the Moto Saloon was a menacing "biker bar."

"As anyone who has been there knows it's just not that kind of place," says Norris. "The passing cars at that intersection are louder than the Moto Saloon ever was."

Norris notes that his fellow Councilors were not even willing to defer a final decision and offer the Moto Saloon a six-month trial period because there was simply so much "bad blood" between the owner and some neighbors that had "poisoned the well for a real conversation."

Perhaps Frankovich's public relations blunders doomed him. Galvin blames Frankovich for "polarizing" a "once harmonious" neighborhood by initially violating the terms of his Certificate of Occupancy with the music, and Woolen Mills resident Bill Landford says Council made the right call.

"While I would love to have live music in a responsible neighborhood pub, regrettably, this was not done by the Moto Saloon," says Lankford.

Emory asserts that Frankovich should feel fortunate that he didn't receive more official complaints during the time he was operating illegally. As for proof that the Moto Saloon created a noise problem, that's hard to document.

According to information from Charlottesville Police Lt. Gary Pleasants, police had been called to the Moto Saloon only once for a noise complaint, and upon arrival they discovered that the "business was not even open." There was, however, one call for a disturbance that broke out and another to help clear the building because it exceeded its occupancy limit.

Asked for evidence about disruptive noise, Councior Galvin declined to name incidents, explaining instead that there were "multiple reasons" for denying the permit. Among them: that a music hall sets a bad precedent for the neighborhood, that parking would become a problem, and that a music hall isn't aligned with the comprehensive plan.

"Councilor Galvin certainly spun her web of zoning parlance," says Frankovich, "but this issue was pretty straight-forward. A sound test conducted by the police and a lack of complaints determined there wasn't a noise problem. And special use permits like this are designed to encourage businesses like mine."

According to Emory, however, the official sound test didn't capture the booming bass typical of a concert. Frequent pedestrian/biker Emory says he would often stroll by during music events.

"I could still hear the music when I arrived at my house three-tenths of a mile to the east," says Emory. "And I have bad hearing."

This isn't the first time that this Council has rejected its Planning Commission's recommendations, and according to its vice chair, reversal has become a "trend." Earlier this year, for example, the Commission approved a fraternity house expansion and unanimously recommended a small apartment building near Rose Hill Drive next door to a much larger apartment complex, but Council denied both applications.

"Council rejecting PC recommendations are unusual, especially by big vote margins," says former PC member Bill Lucy, who calls the rejection of the unanimous vote on the Rose Hill apartment building a "curious" decision.

"It will be interesting to see whether the trend continues," says PC vice chair Dan Rosensweig, who says that Council rejections of unanimous or near-unanimous PC decisions have been "rare" during his four years on the Commission.

The PC, of course, serves at the pleasure of City Council, providing Council– which has Mayor Satyendra Huja in addition to Galvin as a design planner-turned-Councilor– with information to make sound decisions.

"If the trend does continue, that is perfectly fine," says Rosensweig. "However, there may come a point at which Council should elect to redefine roles and reassume some of the responsibilities it has delegated."

As for Frankovich, don't expect him to walk quietly into the sunset.

"We call ourselves a great city of the arts," he says, "but our city government is unwilling to make a small compromise, to take a little risk, and live up to that."

88 comments

emory may be mistaking the nTelos Wireless Pavilion for the noise, as I often did. The kick drum in the Pavillion can shake windows all the way down east market street, and they went about the process legally ;-)

as much as the idea of a salon was cool, gotta play by the rules like everyone else.

A wrinkle that the public may not understand, and that I heard Councilor Smith express on the Coy Barefoot Show is that- when a special use permit is granted it goes to a particular property, not just to the current occupant . So, if a different owner took over,who was not as concerned about the neighborhood as Mr. Frankovich, they would have the right to operate a music hall as well.
Once a special use permit is issued it goes with the property in perpetuity.
That is why compliance with the overall planning, negotiated after many public meetings, matters.

In this instance, given the current guidelines in the Comp Plan, I agree with Council.
When buying property in the city it is necessary to feel secure about the surrounding zoning.
And without that protection vibrant city neighborhoods are at risk.

When a business lobbies it is bad but when a group of neighborhood bullies want the laws distorted at the expense of a taxpaying business then favors are granted without question.

The neighborhood bullies should be careful what they wishe for. If he goes under someone might "by right "open an animal rendering plant or a business with night time diesel truck deliveries, or maybe a motorcycle repair shop where they work on the loud Harleys.

Fortunately the bullies are a minority and once they turn on their own neighbors for having a yard sale or garden party the majority will kick people like Gavin out and the pendulum will swing back towards the center.

Why don't the powers that be just let him have his music with a contingency that if it's too loud and the neighborhood complains then it gets shut down as opposed to putting the kibosh on it before he ever has a chance to prove that he's a good neighbor? I'm sure he's not in business to aggravate the neighborhood. Maybe that's just too simple of an approach.

It's important to remember this is not personal, the decision, in my opinion, has nothing to do with Mr. Frankovich. It appears to be a well thought out planning decision and not one based on bullies.
I am glad to see Council complying with their Comprehensive Plan, and I feel the PC erred in overruling a well considered process.

Neighborhood bullies? From the beginning this has been a divisive issue. Pitting a neighborhood of music lovers against a business owner that has been flat out disrespectful.
Many of the neighbors were looking forward to having a local pub, and would have supported it happily if it weren't for this.
You can't treat people like enemies and expect to get their support.
I think an apology to the hood would go a long way.

I can hear the Pavilion from my house, shut that down!

Double standard for sure.

One might wonder if things would have turned out differently had the business been named "White Collar Dining Club" instead of Black Market Moto Saloon.

Six months of wilfull scofflaw operation makes a very compelling negative argument, everything else aside.

"When a business lobbies it is bad but when a group of neighborhood bullies want the laws distorted at the expense of a taxpaying business then favors are granted without question."

Huh? Don't the neighbors pay taxes too? What laws were distorted? Since when does adhering to the comprehensive plan constitute favors granted?

Maybe Mr. Frankovich should relocate his Moto Saloon to Bill Marshall's house?

The Moto Saloon would have been a perfect test case if it had applied for a permit when it opened. Matteus certainly knew he needed one. He was at the community meeting held at Random Row Books with (then) Mayor Norris and Jim Tolbert. In fact he videotaped the entire meeting. Tolbert promised to reduce the application fee for a music hall license from $1500 to $100 at that meeting.

I can't imagine what he was thinking to operate without at least having applied for a license. It would have been a lot easier then.

Bill,

"When a business lobbies it is bad but when a group of neighborhood bullies want the laws distorted at the expense of a taxpaying business then favors are granted without question."

What laws were distorted? The zone does not allow by right music venues, and Frankovich did it from the word go. You don't reward rule breakers, right? The only ones being bullies if you went to the meetings were the Frankovich supporters most of whom don't live there or even own property.

we'd love him come out to Crozet, we need some loud music

Since he didn't bother initially to get the proper permits to operate as a music venue, one wonders whether he obtained the proper permits to build his deck onto the side of the building either.

But then again, some here would probably say that building safety codes are an impediment to taxpaying businesses.

the whole "music permit" is BS... only because of what Baldi did in the middle of Belmont was that instituted & he's a thief... what new business (especially a restaurant) can swing an unnecessary extra $1500. If that's the case ALL music venues in town should have to apply for one since it's initiation

I also wanna know how the Southern gets by without selling any food

and how the Box gets away with the OBSCENE amount of noise that comes out of there

yeah, and Tolbert LIED about reducing the fee, didn't he? why?

I just spoke with the owner and the rumor is confirmed: Chuck E. Cheese has offering to buy the business which is a prime location for a genuine law-abiding chain restaurant. Where a Biker Bar couldn't be a Music Venue at least "a Kid can be a Kid"!!!! As always, thank you Galvin for supporting (mono)culture in Charlottesville.

so do you have to pay a "music fee" to have an Animatronic Band?

If you're gonna do it do it right and from the start otherwise this is what will happen.

Voltron: Tolbert lied? Seems like that would be news, or it should be.

Every music venue was required to get a permit (except ones that were grandfathered in, such as Miller's). The Tea Bazaar had to get one, the Box got one, and probably some others. Let's find out how much they paid.

If the Box is getting away with excessive noise it is probably because they aren't getting complaints.

Yes I agree it is unnecessary regulation.

Voltron,

No, the SUP permit and Music Hall definition did not start with Baldi, and neither Belmont nor Woolen Mills allowed for Music venues. It was made more granular to be more open to small music venues in food places.

Yes, Baldi was crook. However, many of the same players crying right now about Moto were the same who stood to be counted defneding Baldi, while being as nasty and derogatory and to those neighbors just like they have been to Woolen Mills residents. They were fine with Baldi and what he di, so wailing victim now and pretending Baldi was a bad guy is just the thief crying that he got caught.

And no business has to pay the 1500 if they don't want to be a music venue outside of zoning. There is more to business than one more place serving food with over amped music.

By the way, Lunch Box didn't get away with anything. They were told to stop and they listened. They chose not to get an SUP. End of Story.

Stop playing victim.

In the end what this has to do with is the reality that the restaurant business is tough and many of these marginal ones that spring up in lower rent areas of town cannot really make it on the restaurant end of things because they have a marginal venue rather far removed from population centers of their clientelle and they usually have an undistinguished menu. So what is one to do? The ready at hand answer is turn it into a honky tonk
People seeking to do this invariably try to blow smoke in people's eyes and pretend they aren't really going to be running a neighborhood nuisance, but of course that is what they will really be doing and there will be the inevitable rowdy activity, the yelling, the fights, the hot rodding down the streets after closing...all a distraction for the police and a nightly bugaboo for the unfortunate residents of the neighborhood who derive no economic benefit from a crummy restaurant/ club/dive/whatever, on their street.
Yes, the woolen mills area used to be commercial, but what it used to be was an area of mixed uses whose commercial component would close down and go home for the most part so that the residents could sleep..
I don't live anywhere near the woolen mills area, but have sympathy for their desire for tranquility at night and I have nothing but praise for the City Council that went against the narrow view of the planning commission and ruled in favor of civility. If we are going to have a renewal of old city centers we must, to avoid "white flight", establish some rules for basic civility. Among these must be an understanding that "live music" in its modern iteration with electronic amplification is a pernicious nuisance which must be confined to areas far removed from where people are trying to sleep and must also be restricted to entirely indoor venues where the racket will be kept indoors and unable to spread on the night air for blocks as it could otherwise.
I actually enjoy some real gunchie, base-pounding, rock and roll, but be damned if I want to hear it at 1:00 AM while I'm trying to sleep, nor do I want to hear the primordial howls of drunken fans/patrons as they disperse after closing.

Based on the above comments regarding drunken hooliganism, they ought to shut down most student housing and possibly close UVA. Boy would that quiet things down!

I must have missed something. If music has been shut down at Black Market, what's with the Alex "Crankshaft" Larson show there just a few hours ago?

I don't even know where to begin here reading the comments but vision or comprehensive planning it is not. What IS the comp plan for Woolen Mills; to be an extension of the cemetery - silent with mountain views - or greet people at the crossroads to the neighborhood with a tombstone retailer, or the ridiculous divider on Market St. (with sheep grazing on a tombstone-like plaque) ''welcoming" people to Woolen Mills? Needless to say, i think the refusal of a special use permit for the 'music hall' is ridiculous and I live 2 blocks from the venue. Charlottesville has been going crazy with the regulations and it kills any spontaneity
The structural problem in this town is the ABSENCE of a comprehensive plan that is widely vetted and supported by the community at large. Too much power is put in the hands of special interest groups. Aggressive neighborhood associations (like Martha Jefferson and Woolen Mills who effectively shut down any creative re-use of the old hospital btw is anything happening there anyways?), local developers who get all the permits they want, the Landmark hotel and Biscuit Run come to mind as total failures. And big chains like Marriott can just buy the corner of Main and McIntire to build yet another hotel, eviscerating the small businesses that made their home there. Not to mention UVA, #1 party school according to Playboy, wahoo- using local resources at their convenience.
'Comprehensive' means looking at all issues, including water, transportation and future long-term concepts. Working hard to bringing it to the community, making it transparant, instead of making it impossible for most people to even know where to find the facts, or the vision because there is none. This city needs a mission, a blueprint for the future that is a result of a city-wide effort. Bring it on, because if you don't do it, others will do it for you.

@Comprehension (or did you mean Condescension?), I'm assuming that you only very recently moved to the Woolen Mills neighborhood. Less than a year, correct? That's the only explanation for your woeful ignorance regarding the long history of zoning issues there. The residents of the neighborhood have, in fact, been working their tails off trying to plan comprehensively for decades now. They will continue to do so. Hope that fact doesn't get in the way of your chronic yarn-spinning.

I'm sorry that the presence of Hartmann Memorials upsets you, and that their business model and Egyptian Revival building doesn't fit in with your "vision" for the area. You should walk down there and tell them to leave. Never mind that they predate your arrival in the neighborhood for many decades. They should go and make room for something more to your taste. You also think that the sign with the image of the label from the old Woolen Mills marking the national and state historic district is ridiculous. We'll take care of that for you, missy! God forbid you should be offended by a sign that you aren't capable of understanding.

You know nothing about the neighborhood, but unfortunately that hasn't stopped you from opining about it. Do you know that the street in front of your house used to be like a racetrack, but that's been greatly lessened with traffic calming measures? Are you aware that there were plans for a massive truck transfer station across the street from your house, but that the neighborhood stopped that from happening? Do you have any idea how horrific the Woolen Mills used to smell before the neighbors you openly despise got rid of the composting station, and also pushed the RWSA to bring their plant into modern compliance? All that work done on the pumping station? It was those terrible obstructionist neighbors again, darn them! Supporting the development of the green River Bluff and River's Edge PUDs? It was those stupid NIMBY neighbors... again! Getting a historic district and winning awards from the Planning Commission? Once again, your unsophisticated small-minded neighbors. Getting a conservation easement and better lighting and architecture on the Timberlake Place project? The knuckle-draggers who live around you. Standing behind the impacted residents in the west end near Moto and Lunchbox? Neighbors who give a darn... again.

As far as your tenure in the Woolen Mills is concerned, thus far you're batting zero, unless bitter complaining about your new neighborhood and cheerleading for Moto counts for something, that is. And it doesn't.

Regarding the cemetery being too quiet and having mountain views, sorry, no one can help you with that. Your neighbors really like the peaceful and agrarian feel of the Woolen Mills. It's why people have stayed there, and why many have moved there. If you don't like it, you know where to find the exit. It's next to the sign you find so laughable.

No "comprehension" you obviously don't know where to begin. Here's a hint though, try www.google.com It's amazing what you can find that way if you are willing to make the slightest effort.

First of all, if you would like to view the city's comprehensive plan all you need to type the city's name and the words "comprehensive plan" into any decent search engine and it will be right in front of you a few clicks later. All of the city neighborhoods have their own plans and those are just as easy to find.

If you were to try just a little bit harder to educate yourself you might learn that all localities in Virginia are required by the Code of Virginia to have a comprehensive plan and to review it every 5 years. The city is ironically in the process of updating its comp plan and has taken great pains to invite public participation. Notices of that fact are all over town! There are 3 meetings planned in the next few weeks. Pull your head out of wherever you keep it and go to one. I don't know about these upcoming meetings, but sometimes they even feed whoever shows up just to get people to participate.

It would likewise be a simple matter to discover what the plans are for the old Martha Jefferson Hospital. The claim that the Martha Jefferson Neighborhood Association has kept a creative reuse from happening is patently ridiculous. The old hospital building was purchased a couple of years ago by local developer Octagon Partners and will soon house CFA's 350 or so employees with more tenants to come. City staff took an active role in making that happen and that redevelopment will be great asset to the area around it.

The Woolen Mills neighborhood also deserves development that is an asset to it. The Moto Saloon as a music hall just doesn't measure up to that standard. It may be a great concept and may serve a deserving clientele, which makes it all the more unfortunate for those who will miss it that its owner didn't take the time to find the right spot to give it a try.

What else do you expect from a city full of blue hairs (like NancyDrew) who just want everyone else to be as miserable and boring as they are while they tick down the hours to death? I'm sure they didn't have much mind to fill when they were young, now any amount of diversion is too much for them.

Ladies/Gentlemen,

An issue everyone feels strongly about, we know. But let's try to discuss it without hurling personal insults.

Dave

Chuck E Cheese - over amped loud music in multiple establishments on a corner is a monoculture, but I am sure you supported that. I await the day when the so called live music scene is charlottesville isn't just about over amped music that deafens you and rowdy patrons who are now half deaf.

C-ville sounds like its turning into FL

Blue hair and big Buicks being driven by a corpse.

Meh......

In FL comparison vein, it would be more appropriate to say Cville is being kept from turning into Daytona Beach.

It's without basis to complain about this town crushing the music scene. On the mall alone there are four tiers of performance venue, each with great offerings (Pavillion,Jefferson,Southern,Tea Bazaar). How the town manages to support the quantity of music already offered is a mystery to me.

There seems to be such a whiny, self-centered sense of entitlement on the part of some of those posting here. Not very freakin' corner of the town is supposed to offer an outlet for your right to party. There's plenty of opportunity already. The people who put children to sleep and get up early to go to jobs have the right to expect reasonably quiet residential zones. That's not anti-culture, it's just what happens when a modicum of maturity and responsibility sets in to the patterns of daily life.

I've seen my place of business, Hartman Memorials, mentioned in this story and replies several times. I would like to go on record as saying that the small amount of noise and traffic that Moto Saloon has generated in this neighborhood has never been a problem to us. Whether I am coming into the office at 10:00 a.m. or 10:00 p.m., I have never noticed extremely loud noises or seen drunken fights out on the parking lot. All of their patrons seem to be decent respectable people.

I don't feel there was any excuse whatsoever in City Council denying this special use permit. As a citizen and taxpayerin Charlottesville my entire adult life, City Council did not speak for me in denying this permit.

Then they spoke for me. Sorry Gasbag.

@Steve Shifflett...Kudos to you, sir. Rules were broken by Mr. Frankovich, but all in all, there seems to be no reason to deny him a permit other than to appease the few loud voices in the neighborhood. Very poorly played by the city. Progress is exactly that...progress.

IN a city that has oodles of places for live music and alcohol and food, it is hardly progress to stuff one more in the backyards of a bunch of houses. Progress would be to see those locations with businesses that employed the residents in full time jobs with benefits, so they an walk to work.

I'm just spitballing, but I bet he employs people. The junkyard is NOT a backyard and sound tests were done that confirm the sound levels weren't out of line. The fact that Mr. Frankovich's business isn't your cup of tea doesn't even come into the equation.

The question isn't were good reasons given to deny a permit. It's a special use permit after all. The assumption is that the use in question is not generally appropriate for locations with that zoning but might be in some special circumstances. In all of the complaining about the decision, I'm not seeing much of anything that would support granting a special privilege. Without good reasons for granting a SUP, which no one seems to be able to offer here at least, it's irrelevant who opposed the SUP, what there arguments are, or why they cared to oppose it.

This whole argument is getting kind of ridiculous anyway since they seem to have worked out some way to have live music performances. They had one last night. Were they breaking the law? If yes, then someone needs to deal with them, but if not looks like some sort of compromise has been worked out.

Would helping to support a new business be a good enough reason? Does there need to be a health benefit to allow the permit? No one is harmed in the issuance of this permit, and without good reason NOT to, it should have been allowed, in a probationary form if nothing else. For the record, I've never been to the venue, I just find this denial to be arbitrary.

b17, perhaps they didn't charge for that performance. If you don't charge then you don't fall under the music hall regs.

I disagree that "the assumption is that the use in question is not generally appropriate for locations with that zoning." The situation is that it is a mixed commercial/residential neighborhood and some locations are appropriate and some aren't. The permitting process requires that it be evaluated case by case.

Arguments have already been presented above as to why that location IS appropriate. Others have argued it is not. If there are not any valid reasons/arguments to deny it then normally a business would get it.

b17, perhaps they didn't charge for that performance. If you don't charge then you don't fall under the music hall regs.

I disagree that "the assumption is that the use in question is not generally appropriate for locations with that zoning." The situation is that it is a mixed commercial/residential neighborhood and some locations are appropriate and some aren't. The permitting process is there so that it will be evaluated case by case.

Arguments have already been presented above as to why that location IS appropriate. Others have argued it is not. If there are not any valid reasons/arguments to deny it then normally a business would get approved.

b17, perhaps they didn't charge for that performance. If you don't charge then you don't fall under the music hall regs.

I disagree that "the assumption is that the use in question is not generally appropriate for locations with that zoning." The situation is that it is a mixed commercial/residential neighborhood and some locations are appropriate and some aren't. The permitting process is there so that it will be evaluated case by case.

Arguments have already been presented above as to why that location IS appropriate. Others have argued it is not. If there are not any valid reasons to deny it then normally a business would get approved.

apologies for the multiple posts. the page was hanging when I was submitting.

omgitspaul,

Yes, the Moto employs people, but I bet it's like any other restaurant - limited or no benefits, low pay, primarily part time. Obviously there is a place for that in any dynamic economy, but we need full time jobs too, with benefits, if you want progress.

Moto might have a junkyard out back, but it won't always be a junk yard, and there are houses right across the street. It doesn't matter what the psuedo poorly done test showed was within the sound ordinance, there is, what it is.

@Old Timer...I get that. In a perfect world we would all have full time work, with benefits. I have exactly that. I'm not arguing that that wouldn't be just wonderful.

A decibel meter isn't a pseudo test, it measures a very measurable criteria. And with an accurate sound measurement...

I'm sorry, but your logic says that since there will eventually be homes, we should stop anything those non-existent potential neighbors might someday down the road find objectionable? That's a better option than to support a business that exist now? I respectfully disagree.

@omgitspaul You're usually a reasonable voice. I don't see why the "Because it's my neighborhood dammit" objection brought by residents doesn't carry more weight with you. That, for those people, is an argument that their quality of life at *home* is being harmed. You cite its being a business as bringing an almost sancrosanct status to the table, but as far as taxes and wages (reported) this is not a signficant contributor. Like OldTimer suggested, a better business would be one with salaries & benefits. This business has already cost the city money spent on police visits & court usage (the biker dustup).

Why should it be so hard to empathize with those with a real stake in the neighborhood?

The father, the son and the holy ghost, took the last train to the coast...the day the music died.

@Dolemite...I'm not trying to be unreasonable...at all. On one hand, I guess I'm just rooting for the underdog, on the other I'm wondering why someone who wanted to host music acts didn't find a location where that wasn't frowned on. That doesn't escape me, neither does the fact that this is a neighborhood. It just seems to me that this gentleman has done all that can be expected to bring his business up and tried hard to keep the noise down.

I submit to you, if you wanted to open a business, any business, would you want to be dictated to as to what would be suitable, as far as whether or not you offered full or part time employment? I don't think you would. Of course full time employment is a plus, but this place will also bring in tax dollars on food and beverage sales. I'm not so much arguing for it as I am arguing "why not'?

OK you're playing Luther and me Calvin (reason *not* to put it in vs need a reason *to* put it in). No one in an official capacity is saying that this business model doesn't count; as is he has permission to operate a restaurant and sell alcohol. In the "all the can be expected" department, his having applied for a permit before ever having shows, advertised no less, would probably have meant a different outcome here. That's an indelible stain on his judgement if not ethos. Anyone with any dang sense would have played by the rules, especially after the Bel Rio debacle.

It's tangential, but I wonder at what point the entertainment market in Cville becomes a zero-sum game? And another rhetorical question is why not just pure acoustic music? People did that for a long time before Austrolopithicus "evolved" into the modern day soundman.

Sorry that's 'australopithecus.'

Lol, well said! I hope there's room for compromise somewhere down the road for anyone truly making the effort to be a good neighbor.

If you look at other cities who used zoning to "protect" a way of life it only works for awhile. The first thing to happen is the regulations and aggravation discourage busineses who move elswhere and then get the people from the neighborhod to travel to them siphoning money from the tax coffers and causing traffic congestion. Phase two is empty buildings that are hard to lease so entrepenuers try and make it work only to find out why the place was for rent. eventually they move, and properties sit empty. After a few years natural growth causes these type properties to be consumed for housing driving up rents for whats left which makes them out of reach for a small guy trying to open a place like ths. A few years after that the buildings are torn down and replaced with big money from out of town who grease the skids with proffers and promises of jobs. Once that happens we have what is known in Charlottesville as WEST MAIN STREET. It is in the third phase as we speak

The article states that a lot of people from the neighborhood liked the place. A loud group of nimbys pulled some strings. End of story. (for now)

I'm no urban planner Ponce, so I can't argue for or against your general scenario dynamics, but to keep the model analogy intact: Where was there residential housing on W Main St after 1940? I don't remember any in my Cville tenure (The hourly entertainers that had rooms in the Albemarle Hotel don't count.) I'm not sure the loss of the Buddy-Buddy was anything but a plus though.

I agree with Nancy Drew. "As anyone who has been there knows it's just not that kind of place," says Norris. Apparently Dave Norris does not realize it is not wise to govern according to who's asking.

UVA atr it up.

wheres traxx?

@Ponce de Leon: I'll take that as an "Uh man what're you talking about? Some people I know remember Zippers" depth of W Main history. Bummer; I was expecting a coherent answer and a community planning tutorial. Do you remember Safeway riots?

I havent been following this story but this Frankenvich guy just seem like a trouble maker if he has been told he can't be having live music and does it any way. What happened to respect. Is there none left in this world. Respect for your neighbors used to go along way and I bet it would have in this case but his guy has none and I'd say he deserves none if he treats people and treats the law like that.

There were no riots at Safeway, just a fight. It is amazing how rumors persist.

Dolemite, look at the property at the corner of wast main and ridge street. They rare alllowing a hotel which makes the property worth 5 times what it would be otherwise because of the number of floors they can amortize costs over. West main will be nothing but major chains and high rent botique stores in a few short years as landlords sell out for big money to olive garden and red lobster

Go to northern va and look at arlington or better yet main street in vienn, look at seven corners ot falls church. no one cam even afford to open a gas station because the land is worth 4 million dollars. So in comes the biggies like exxon and shell...

go to google maps and zoom in ... that is the future...

W. Main is pretty much a ghost town now with little foot traffic. This is partially due to the free trolley and to the fact that there are popular destinations in that sector. The street is clogged with vehicles driving through the area to other places. It would be nice to have some major chains and boutique along that corridor. Maybe when they build those 200 apartments on @. Main some stores may locate there.

I agree that the historic character of a neighborhood is important, like the historic Vinegar Hill before it was obliterated and turned into a soulless wasteland. Make history an asset and simultaneously explore how development can enhance an area, even attract more business. It really comes down to a shared comprehensive plan for the city, not just for individual neighborhoods but a long term vision that the planning commission and city council can use as a framework; instead of one endorsing a venture with a 5-1 vote, while the latter does the opposite. Doesn't feel like a good place to be in. We have to define what the city wants to become for the future, support what makes a city vibrant and livable for all, including the support and thriving of local businesses. This is not the time for factional bickering instead let's create a platform for how we can shape the city we somehow love.

Dude, get a clue!! Did you even bother to read my comment after your last post. THERE IS A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN! Virginia law requires it and every locality has one. You are welcome to read it, comment on it and and even to participate in shaping it for the future. If you don't know that much, you are wayyyyy out of your league in commenting on a zoning issue.

"I agree that the historic character of a neighborhood is important, like the historic Vinegar Hill before it was obliterated and turned into a soulless wasteland."

Vinegar Hill was a slum 95% owned by slumlords. The people used outhouses and held roofs up with 55 gallon drums and cinderblocks. The city built westhaven and gave the people a safe air conditioned and heated (thats right "heated" which a lot of vinegar hills homes were not)place to live mostly rent free and many are still there along with three geneations of offspring. Vinegar hill was crime ridden dirty and in despair. The fact that some poeople didn;t mind living amongst the filth vermon and criminals does not mean it was like the old main street. with people discussing the weather.

The resindents got better. the homeowners got new houses in noce neghborhoods and the healtth and welfare of everyone affected improved. Nobody likes to be forcibly moved but this project was a worthwhile endeavor.

Krazy Kurt and others ran a little place Dust in the exact same spot for years. Loud, bad music, drunk kids having sex in the parking lot, a strong hobo ethic. The city didn't seem to notice because no one filed any paperwork for permits, licenses or other such necessaries of all good regulated, centralized societies.

I'm sure there's a lesson here but it escapes me.

omgitspaul,

"A decibel meter isn't a pseudo test, it measures a very measurable criteria."

A decibel meter itself has more than one type of reading; Type A which leaves out a large swatch of bass, type C that does not. Most of what carries and is so offensive is the bass. The City measures Type A if I understand. The bass was found to have a real problem until at about 55 dbs over in Belmont, if I recall, and that is a standard used for most residential areas.

What I think you are missing in the decibel reading is not that it was not a problem - obviously it has been or no one would have complained - but that it was below the current sound levels for an M1 district.

The reason why I called the test psuedo is because it was not in fact a live performance that was tested. Live performance operates ith different mixes from the instruments, usually over a wider range of dynamics. It's one of the things that can make live performance more rich than recorded. But it also misses the traffic, congestion, and often inconsiderate behavior of the patrons which most certainly do affect the residents. Loud voices and slammed car doors intermittently from 10PM to 3 AM is very disruptive, as are the periodic screams and shouts. And I am sorry, based on the conduct and comments by a number of the vociferous Moto SUP supporters in public forums, I have no reason to think that they would be concerned in any way for those whom they disturb. I actually would expect them to be especially disruptive, just to be nasty, should the SUP be granted.

I find I must echo Dolemite, in your seeming need to support one business coming at the expense of so many residents who bought and rebuilt homes thinking that the M1 district shuts down at 5PM, based on the zone. And no, I don't think you should make an exception for a small business, at the expense of the surrounding community. Especially when has known costs to that community in terms of police action and damaged property tat eat up any contributions they make in terms of taxes. That's why is said a business with full time jobs and benefits are a better representative of progress.

Having said that, as the dynamics change, I think a good restaurant can offer something to the community. I think the support of the residents for that part of the business shows it does already.

What I have said goes for places like the Lunch Box too. Not just Moto.

A lot of other people seem to be able to run restaurants that aren't music halls and I bet most of them don't bother their neighbors.

http://www.readthehook.com/108014/business-good-lots-o-new-places-new-me...
"In the last few months, we haven't been able to turn a corner without finding a new eatery opening. Since August, we've counted 16 places that opened, recently opened, or are about to open."

LOL

"I think a good restaurant can offer something to the community. I think the support of the residents for that part of the business shows it does already. "

As if Charlottesville needs any more restaurants, they're half of the Downtown Mall already. More bitter old people angry that people are having fun and not dying slowly like them. Totally typical response from a small minded Cville skeleton.

The way this has played out thus far reminds me of the Charlottesville's pastr ed-lining practices that helped enforce rigid segregation lines that still persist today. Racial segregation still persists in the neighborhoods and leadership of Charlottesville, however, the practices evident in this situation are of a more complex nature that discriminate on the basis of class and culture. This is where the economically entitled neighborhood citizens with disproportionate power as compared to other citizens, are able to twist arms of City Council members to control the actions of other people. These citizens don't want to tolerate expressions in ways that they believe are too creative, they don't respect basic rights of the U.S. Constitution. This isn't about sound volume, it is about the character of the expressions that say to these control-freaks that they aren't in control. Instead of learning to appreciate diversity these controlling forces thrive on crushing any semblance of it, in the past it was about racial segregation based on similar to the arguments they are now directing at others who aren't in rigid compliance with their definitions of what is proper. One would think that human rights would be more important in Charlottesville.

Mr Francovich went to the city and requested and received a permit for a restaurant. He didn't ask for a permit for a loud music place. To be sure that everything was clear, the permit person made sure the permit said that no live amplify music was allowed. Mr Francovich must have signed that.

He lied to everybody to get what he wanted and have a loud music place from the time he opened. He used unfairness and deciet but now he says hes a victim of everybody, the city and neighborhood. All I see him doing is complaining about everybody and being a baby. It takes a grownup to run a successful business and he is not acting like a grownup. Not just old people like quiet. There are families with babies and children that like quiet too so they can sleep at night and get to work in the morning.

This was a victory for the forces of intolerance and narrow-mindedness. It had nothing to do with sound volumes, it was about the rejection of freedom of expression.

The owner of the Moto Saloon himself played the class/race card himself when he tried to blame all of the noise complaints on his nearby competition the Lunchbox who often played hip hop at their shows. I'm a hip hop fan myself and wish there was a venue in town where I could see live show, but everyone seems to be afraid of it. The Moto Saloon used that fear to portray the competition as bad and themselves as the good guys bringing "culture" to the area. I guess culture to them means only certain genres favored by kids who get enough money from somewhere that they don't need to go to work the next morning.

It's also a joke that the people in the houses near the Moto Saloon have more money than someone who sold his last business the Tea Bazar for a of of money and used to to start a second business. No way he could have done that without a lot of money in the bank himself. The trustfund hipsters who ride expensive vintage motorcycles must be doing pretty well themselves. The ones riding new Harleys are even richer. Ever look at what one of those costs?

You're right Cruncher; CHarlottesville doesn't really don't need anymore restaurants. They need real paying jobs, and businesses that actually make things. Same for Albemarle. Maye you should have told Frankovich and Baldi about that instead of blaming the City and residents for standing in the way of the what the city doesn't need.

But why blame Charlottesville? Do you really think the county is going to write an open ticket for it? Ask them and see.

As for the rest of your comments, all you are doing is making it worse, making people push back harder. Maybe you need to consider something else; it's not old dead people who have no lives.Maybe it's young -hip- people who have so traumatize their senses they have to bludgeon them with obnoxious volume levels and too much alcohol to feel alive. Maybe it's them who are dead, thus they need enough noise to wake the 'dead,' because that's what they now are.

Human rights do matter in Charlottesville Globe, that's why the permit wasn't allowed. I am sorry if physics confounds you, but expression that causes physical damage and health problems is something that simply has to be checked. Music over a certain volume is audible, and will eep people awake. In some cases it will cause hearing damage. Lack of sleep causes health trouble.

I think this phrase is appropriate;
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

If non participants see no evil coming from an establishment (patrons behave), and hear no evil ( no boom boom bass), they will speak no evil of the establishment. Unfortunately, what was propsosed is well known for seeing and hearing evil.

From the article it clearly states that noise, perceived or otherwise, wasn't the primary motivation of the City Council although it was the major obsession of a few residents, however, there was no record of legitimate complaints. Without a documented record to support prohibitions on live music, the Council simply acted upon their arbitrary notions that the live music simply wasn't to their liking. Ultimately they felt that an establishment with live music wasn't the kind of business that they want to succeed in Charlottesville. As one outrageous Council member quite subjectively stated that it was not "harmonious with the existing patterns of use in the neighborhood." Consider a special kind of eminent domain that the City Council retains that allows them to dictate what kind of music we can enjoy together.

Sorry Globe, nothing arbitrary about it. No music halls are allowed in that distict, and the onus is on the establishment wanting the SUP to prove how it helps and enhances the neighborhood without conflicting with the current envionment. There were multiple noise complaints between the Lunch Box, and Moto, even if more might have been due to the Lunch Box. The point about the divisiveness was on point - if it was such a good idea you wouldn't have seen the neighborhood divided, and it wasn't just a few people who didn't want it. It was a LOT of people. Naturally those who ae closest are more likely to voice concerns, but I don't think it's good policy to say - OH, it's just a few of you, so tough tookies.

There is also more to consider that it is not really fair to the other business who also might ave wanted a venue. Frankovich said he wanted a restaurant, he has one. If he wanted a music hall, he should have opened where it was by-right, and there are plenty of places like that in Charlottesville. Just because a place is downtown doesn't mean anything goes. Sorry.

The point that stands out for me is that the cars and traffic at the same intersection are far louder than the Saloon as are the kids at the swimming pool at the park. There's a bit of arbitrariness for you Caesonia. Here is some more. Live anywhere near UVA's privileged Greek zone and you get loud music & screaming drunk Greeks, we allow that as the Greek Houses aren't closed by the City and they continue to be loud every year. Certain sounds are OK, even if they are louder than that emanating from the sound dampened walls of the Saloon. It wasn't about the sound Caesonia, that was a convenient excuse. It was about the cultural expression, it was worrying to self-appointed control freaks. Not unlike having a neighbor who monitors how often you cut your grass or if your car's registration is current. There are some among us who aren't comfortable in their own skin, or in their own house, and they act this out through actions that attempt to dominate anyone else around them who gives them an excuse.

A few styrofoam boards and a cheap plastic tarp just aren't going to work as noise reduction. Look at the TV coverage of the issue and you will see just that. On TV, I saw Frankovich pull a tarp like I cover my firewood pile with over his wall and act as though it were a sound barrier. I had to watch 3 times just to make sure because I thought it was either a joke or I was missing something.

Rigid foam insulation like was shown in the TV coverage doesn't do a thing to stop sound either. Other than that, it doesn't seem like the Moto Saloon did anything to stop sound from bothering neighbors. No wonder there were so many complaints about them. "Contrary to common usage, fiberglass, foam insulation, sound board, or extra layers of drywall do little to stop noise transmission. Even a poured concrete or concrete block wall is not a very good sound barrier; sound is very difficult to stop and solid rigid materials actually tend to transmit sound very well." http://www.acoustiblok.com/

As far as the fraternities go, are any of them required to get special use permits for what they do? That was the issue here, so I just don't see how that has anything to do with the discussion. The Moto Saloon question was just a simple zoning issue and it was decided that there was no reason to give them special privileges for a space in that zoning. If fraternities aren't allowed in the zones they are in except through a SUP, then they need to get similar approval. If they are allowed, then that doesn't have anything to do with this discussion. It's really pretty simple.

Then there is the fact the the Moto Saloon's owner violated the law for so long. There shouldn't be a reward for that should there? I think punishment is what usually comes with knowingly violating the law.

First Globe, I suggest you be sure you are accurate in your statements before jumping up and down about arbitrariness. I also suggest you don't throw red herrings, like how loud children are at the swim park. Children aren't at the swim park at midnight. Car noise during the day might be louder than some of what goes on at Moto, but that's part of the concerns about the total noise factor - music venues will increase the load of late night early AM traffic - you know, when people who have jobs to go to in the AM and children- need to sleep.

Yes, culture that is loud, disruptive, inconsiderate, and does this at 1 AM is a culture that is being denied. That's what we do in civilized communities. Your comment about frat houses only supports the point . Maybe what needs to happen is a group of thinkers like you should be forced to live in a barracks for a week, and have your sleep continually disrupted by loud amplified music and slamming car doors and yelling people. Then when you are really really tired, it might sink in.

However, it is untrue that there is not a push back against the frat houses. And that push back is getting lots of traction with council, and it's going to get more. The State of Virginia was apparently contacted about it. So, nothing arbitrary here.

Zoning is Consitutional, it is not about crushing expression, and there are zones that allow the kind of so called culture you want to live. Not in the Woolen Mills district. Not Belmont. Not Greenbrier.

Zoning is not the issue here. It is the abuse of the zoning process by those who have decided to use their privileged access to the levers of power to control others. Where in the Council's actions is the respect for the rights of the Saloon patrons to associate with one another and enjoy live music on a weekend night? Many of us work all week long and look forward to the freedom expressed by live music performance. We can be happy to live in a country where such expressions are treasured and protected whereas we all know that in other places and eras, they are not. This is part of the character of our country, albeit Rock and Roll did have a tough time getting accepted but I don't see how the Council's actions gave the Saloon patrons any respect whatsoever. The accommodations the Saloon was willing to make to limit the hours and days when music would be played were reasonable and respectful and I would guess that the Saloon would go even further to soundproof the building and other conciliatory actions. That those concessions were completely rejected indicates that the true motivations of those opposed to live music went beyond decibel levels. It was about evening weekend cultural expressions with all those lively people still awake, being too free, too alive, too loud in their liberty. They had to be taught a lesson not about responsibility, no, this is a lesson about subservience, compliance and domination. From all indications judging from the Council's actions, the patrons of the Black Market Moto Saloon have no rights worth respecting.

globe, you haven't been paying very close attention if you don't know that zoning is the ONLY issue at play in this situation. Your allegations keep getting more and more ridiculous and now its clear why. You don't seem to have any understanding of the situation at all. You are almost as uninformed as Frankovich himself who said "... special use permits like this are designed to encourage businesses like mine."

You allege abuse of the zoning process, but it would have taken some pretty remarkable foresight for nearby residents to have anticipated that someone would want to put in a music hall, and then for them to have pulled strings 40-50 or more years ago as you claim to get the area zoned for manufacturing. I don't think that happened.

You "guess that the Saloon would go even further to soundproof the building and other conciliatory actions," but unless the owner himself were to say something on the matter, we just wouldn't know how accurate your guess might be. Even if the owner were to say something, he hasn't demonstrated himself to be very trustworthy now has he what with numerous violations of the law?

It's pretty easy to find pictures and videos of bands playing at the Saloon. They show the same stryofoam window plugs from the TV news videos and nothing more. As someone who lived with friends who had band practice in our basement for 3 years (I'm not a musician and wasn't in it), I can tell you a little something about sound insulation and keeping neighbors from calling the police. Foam may work for cold, but it does almost nothing for sound. Old used futons were all we could find to keep the bass and drums contained and they got moldy against the cinderblock walls. Without doing something similar or paying for VERY expensive professional solutions, there is no way the Moto Saloon could keep the sound of a real band from bothering neighbors.

Lastly, if you and the poor Saloon patrons are having trouble associating with one another, maybe you need to walk away from your computer and go out for a change. There are lots and lots of places to listen to live music here in town with everything from folk to jazz to classical available weekly if not nightly and anyone with enough brains to locate a new venue in one of the many areas where they are allowed by right could do well by adding another choice to the mix.

Globe, you contradict yourself. First you say zoning isn't the issue, and then you say it is. The zoning for the M1 district has been around a long time, and it was designed to operate with the truly industrial nature of the area, and having it work in harmony with the many residences sprinkled around. It does not, and has not allowed music halls in my living memory.

You seem to think the City owes the patrons of the Saloon some sort of additional courtesy, in contradiction of the terms of the zoning, over that of the other established businesses and residences. They do not. In fact, they owe a duty to meet the terms of the zoning first, which says?

NO LIVE MUSIC VENUES.

And by the way, it appears a number of Moto patrons are from the neighborhood and don;t want it to become a Music Venue.

The only people being disrespectful are those like Frankovich who did something in violation of their permit, disrupted his neighbors, and then allowed his supporters to heap piles of abuse on them when they complained. I don't think you reward that.

You know, I was in bands when younger. I was actually a percussionist. I managed to practice routinely and stay friends with my neighbors who had small children. You know how? By going out and first talking with them about when an acceptable time would be. I worked out a schedule for myself, and then for the times when my band could gather from time to time. It worked fine. On the one occasion when my roommates friends decided to play at midnight when I wasn't there, I personally went around and apologized to every single affected household, even though I was not there. They all knew it wasn't me, but they appreciated it.

This is what adults do Globe. This is how you make stuff like this work harmoniously. You don;t run around crying that your culture is being picked on, or you are being arbitrarily punished. You don't act entitled, like you are, and Frankovich did. You look for a solution before there is a problem because you know what you are doing can have negative consequences.

Like b17, I suggest you get out and meet with your music friends in the many other locations offering live music in the city, and the county. Stop looking for injustice where there is none. You are 'free, white, and 21," I suspect, and it's time to act like it.

Hi Caesonia and b17,
To clarify; zoning (and special use permits) are not the issue. It is the abuse of the zoning and permitting process that is the problem. Get it? It is just like saying alcohol isn't the problem, it is the abuse of alcohol, so prohibition of alcohol is an ill-advised policy. In this case we have an number of intolerant citizens who are quite selfishly drunk with intolerance.We have a sad situation in Charlottesville where there are some xenophobic types have managed to gain disproportionate power to defame a business and its patrons, thereby violating their rights to assemble and express themselves, in spite of the business owners and patrons being willing to bend over backwards to address all of their noise concerns. If you must respond I would hope that you would address the question, where in the live music prohibition policy you support is there a recognition and respect for the rights of the patrons of the Black Market Moto Saloon?

Wait just a second. Zoning isn't an issue in a use not being permitted by zoning regulations? How so exactly?

globe, either you are the poster formerly ironically known as comprehension or Mr. Frankovich or both. Is there anyone else so out of touch with the basic facts of the planning process?

Houses are allowed in zones that allow housing, grocery stores are allowed in zones that allow grocery stores, car repair shops and welding shops and millwork shops are allowed in zones that allow those uses. Similarly, music halls are allowed in zones that allow that use and there are many in this city. Noise is only one of several reasons why music halls are restricted to certain zones. If you don't understand the basic facts, and you really don't seem to, the this thread is simply over your head. You should either take the time to educate yourself just a tiny bit or refrain from embarrassing yourself further.

Special use is just what the name implies and that fact is clearly spelled out in city code. It is a special extension of the uses permitted in a particular zone that MAY be allowed when an applicant can demonstrate that the special use is in keeping with the original intent of the particular zoning class that applies to a specific piece of property and that it does not negatively impact the rights of adjacent property owners.

Clearly the owner in this case didn't make a compelling case for being granted additional privileges. If he couldn't make a good case for himself then common sense dictates that he not be allowed more than he would have by right. That is standard zoning practice not just here, but across the country.

Mr. Frankovich complained on his website at one point that he was only one of handful of restaurant owners required to get a special use permit for live music at his hoped for music hall. That is no different than someone wanting to put a daycare center housing 40 kids in the middle of a residential zone complaining that he or she is the only such daycare center being denied the right to take care of innocent children or a sawmill operator trying to set up shop on the Downtown Mall crying foul that his was the only sawmill not being allowed to cut boards there.

Only a fool who has little or no hope of succeeding at business in the first place would insist upon making such an obvious mistake. Only someone with nothing in the way of a substantive argument would even attempt to try the ludicrous xenophobia or censorship angle in a vain attempt to argue in favor of something that was so obviously a poor choice of location and nothing more.

This is Charlottesville man. This town is full of people from all over the world and has more culture than many cities 10 times its size. Get a grip and like the others said get put of the house and look around a bit. You aren't living in the real world if you imagine that anyone in this town is limiting expression. If you don't like what you see when you get outside, then do something to change it for the better. If you don't like how things are zoned, then petition to change things and make a good case for why they ought to change. If you don't participate, then you have no one but yourself to blame for the city you live in and I have no time for your crybaby attitude.

To JBlaze:
Have you noticed that bully's often call their victims crybabies?
Anyways, you've asserted that the live music proponents did not make a good case for live music performances. On the contrary the owner and the patrons of the Saloon establishment made a great case and thereby gained the support of the Charlottesville Planning Commission. The owner and the patrons were willing to make all kinds of accommodations out of respect for the neighbors to meet their concerns and this was recognized by the professional planners at the Commission. But it wasn't enough for some of the stubborn intolerant ones among us was it? All manner of excuses have been put forth to justify what is a de facto abridgment of the rights of the patrons and owners of the Saloon to assemble, associate and express themselves on private property! I'm still waiting for someone to address the question: Where in the live music prohibition policy you support is there a recognition and respect for the rights of the patrons of the Black Market Moto Saloon?

globe, please post the text of "music prohibition policy" you keep referring to so we know what you are talking about.

Globe, I didn't assert that proponents of live music had failed to make a case for live music. That's an irrelevant issue since the simple fact of the matter is that no case needs to be made. Live music of all sorts, theater, and dance are all widely available on a regular basis all over the region with a particularly high concentration in the city.

The question in this case was whether to grant a special exception to allow a use not ordinarily allowed by the zoning classification given to a particular piece of property in the city. That decision is made by City Council. They take input from a number of sources including the applicant, the Department of Neighborhood Development Services, the planning commission, and anyone else who might wish to provide input on the matter.

If the applicant and his supporters such as yourself had taken the time to educate themselves about the criteria that the council uses in making decisions regarding zoning changes they might have been able to address those criteria point by point rather than engage in the pointless exercise of speaking in favor of music when no one was questioning the value of music. Their lack of understanding and focus compared to the arguments against the zoning change are what doomed them to failure.

Regarding the question of the rights of the Moto Saloon's patrons, were you unaware of the fact that quite a few were freely permitted to peaceable assemble and address their local government with no fear of hinderance or repercussion for doing so and that many are still freely associating and discussing the matter among themselves? That the Saloon is open for business with no prosecution of the owner or even as much as a fine for knowingly violating the law for months after several warnings? That the local musicians who have been vocal supporters are still freely playing in other appropriately sited legal venues? That a new dance hall has even opened up since this discussion began? Just what is this problem of lack of rights?