Landlord gives Bel Rio a thumping of its own

news-belmont-streetscapeThe view from inside Bel Rio. FILE PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER

After a persistent controversy over its musical volume and allegations of late-night rock-and-roll bass thumping disturbing the sleep of Belmont neighborhood residents, embattled Bel Rio restaurant has received a thumping of its own: the landlord insists that Bel Rio stick to jazz. The Daily Progress has the scoop.

This story is a part of the The Jim Baldi story special.


dave t thats not what yours said

(sorry for the "me too" post)

Old Timer, nice post. Thanks for taking the time and effort.

We're not against rap... We're not against rappers... But we are against those THUGS!

@Whateva: Wha? You sympathize with residents of Belmont who have been there for years but not people who have recently moved there? I'll bet the ones complaining about the noise have not been in Belmont for generations.

Old timer - nice post ! idontknowanything.........I think the wife is right !

Thanks, Old Timer!

Well, sounds like the noise issue will be resolved by the pending face plant of Bel Rio. The essential clue is the "closed for renovations" sign. here today, gone tomorrow. You got to love the Charlottesville restaurant business with the revolving door cast of characters who ensure the business will remain "dynamic" by opening evanescent restaurants and clubs. Best of luck to Mr. Easter as regards that lease going through 2013.

What's wrong with all you people who think it's an onerous burden on "business" for local govt. to insist the volume be turned down on the hideous cacophony of amplified noise emanating from such a place in the middle of the night? Transient clubs scarcely represent business in the sense of adding to the economic depth of the community. I'm not saying this is the case with Bel Rio specifically, but the common routine for come and go restaurants in this town is for the place to close leaving massive unpaid liabilities to everyone from landlords on down, or up to taxes, etc. Is it really the City's obligation to roll over for any "business'" activities regardless of how much a public nuisance they become?

This again !!!!! Man o man the more thing change the more they stay the same in shangri la.The most "Business" unfriendly place on earth.

idontknowanythingjustaskmywife - agreed completely! complain that their "world class" city is falling off the chart and then slam businesses due to noise....what a waste of taxpayers money...People in knew there were "eateries" in the neighborhood when you moved in....if you don't like it, MOVE!!! If you were grandfathered in, then I feel for get get a double whammy! People that moved in and want to change the world and the businesses that started all the "raucous" to begin with.

NBC29's Twitter feed just emitted this regarding Bel Rio:

Charlottesville city hall insiders tell NBC29 that the much noise-troubled Bel Rio restaurant/bar in Belmont has lost its liquor license.

WTF they lost the right to make a living .The next thing you know the "Government " in this berg will be telling people when they can mow their lawns and what kind of lawnmower to use. Why doesnt the Del Rio become a privet "CLUB" Charge a small "membership" fee to get in then no liquor licence needed

Jazz: the music of the future!

Oldtimer- here is me, standing here corrected. Thank you! Maybe the residents of Belmont have a valid beef with this guy...that is if I am reading your post right. If he lost his ABC license, it could be the end of it anyway...looks like the residents will be getting a good night's sleep for a while anyway.

Miles, yep I don't have any sympathy for anyone who doesn't do their homework before buying a home (see my above statement admitting I didn't do mine, so no sympathy for myself either). I did extensive research on my current property and KNOW there a couple of people who raise horses, so guess what? It's gonna stink when the wind blows right...don't see me raising a "StinK" about that. I knew before I moved there. :)

I just avoid skanky Belmont, except for an occasional quick run in for BBQ, I just hold my nose.

Jim Baldi has a habit of being unresponsive. Time to get out of town Jim? I won't miss you.

Absurd that this took so long to resolve, and that the residential neighbors have been raked over the coals in the process. Whateva and Jim Sniadecki's comments are typical of those who have been ignoring the facts in this issue. Most of what Old Timer is referring to is information that's been widely available in articles and blog comments.

Where has Jeff Easter been all this time? He's known that Bel Rio was in violation of their lease, but instead of acting responsibly, he chose to throw his own neighbors under the bus. Nice...

It would be good to think that Bel Rio's apparent bump will solve all of its neighbors' problems, but that is unlikely. Intrusive decibels, etc., are only symptoms of a much deeper problem.

A bit of background (plus backup for Old Timer): I spent my first eight years at 150 Goodman Street, a house my grandfather had bought in 1917 and the one with the yard that adjoins La Taza's terrace. In those days (the early 1950s) Belmont bristled with small businesses -- service stations, non-super markets we all depended on, barber and beauty shops, a bottling plant (home now of La Taza, Bel Rio, et al.), even a masonry contractor, convenient source for that essential sandbox ingredient. Despite such busy businesses, however, both nights and days were quiet. And because many households had no cars -- folks just walked or took the bus ââ?¬â??- and no one had more than one, parking was never a problem.

The businesses that have sprouted in Belmont over the last decade are, from a zoning standpoint, carryovers from that earlier era. Unfortunately, however, many of them have not carried over the compatibility that characterized their predecessors. Two reasons: For one, we now live in a society that's highly amplified, auto-centric, and chronically inconsiderate. For another, we now live in a city where fad-prone City Councilors and their appointees are determined to foist on us their versions of "density," "mixed-use," and "vibrancy" -- abstract terms too often translated into reality as crowded, noisy, traffic-clogged, ad inf.

No one whose demonstrated priority is anything other than guaranteeing those who have already invested their lives in Charlottesville the peaceful enjoyment of their property and/or premises -- absolutely key to quality of life -- should ever be put in a position to make decisions that affect us all. Anyone already in such a position who regularly demonstrates more concern for hypothetical residents that might invest their lives here if everything is changed to suit them and who regularly supports zoning waivers, special-use permits, etc.. to that end should be turfed out at the first opportunity.

Other than that, I humbly suggest that if it's not all right to radically disturb someone's peace after 11 pm, it's not all right to do so before 11 pm either. If we ever lived in a world where people worked all day five days a week, went to parties on Saturday night and church on Sunday morning, turned in at 11 and got up at 7, we don't anymore. We live in a 24/7 world that needs more than ever 24/7 respect and restraint.

The Hook is getting very boring to read

Are people now posting their life stories in the comment sections of this article!

"Jazz isn't a what, it's a how."

Bill Evans

Whateva!Is it me or are most locals living in some sort of vacuum?
Tax base supported by business isn't that a novel idea?The Step-ford wives III coming up. La-t-frig-gin -DA

Its very clear to me that most people commenting here know nothing about the residents in that area or even the businesses. I have done my research because I went though something like this many years ago somewhere else, and I have found this to be one of the most egregious violation of duty by a city to it's residents yet to be found.

A few facts everyone here needs to pay attention to:

*The oldest restaurant on that corner dates back ONLY 8 years. That's right folks, only 8 years. Mas and La Taza opened in 2002. The Local, Tavola, and Bel Rio opened 2 years ago. the BBQ 4.

*Except for a few rentals, of the residential owners upset - MANY OF WHOM ARE BUSINESS OWNERS THEMSELVES ON THAT CORNER - have been there far longer, and in some cases, more than half century. On resident who is a large COMMERCIAL property owner has lived there her entir life, predating any sort of supposed business zoning at all.

* Bel Rio is not a restaurant. It is a music venue and night club.

* The zoning in that area does not really allow for so many restaurants unless the city decides to waive things like parking requirements. Which the city did in spite of protests from residents and now no one within a several block radius can park anywhere close to their homes - INCLUDING THOSE IN AREAS ZONED RESIDENTIAL.

* One of the biggest advocates for the noise ordinance has been Mas, whose owner has had to protect his patrons from the filth, violence, and disruption coming from Bel Rio.

* You enver heard residents complaining about Mas or La Taza when they opened.

People have a right to expect that rules WILL be enforced where they live, and that their property rights will be respected. When they are not they have a right to complain, and to get a response from the local authorities to eb sure their rights as citizens and taxpayers are upheld. If the local authorities refuse because of some personal belief, then they shold be removed from office.

Every one of you here complaining about the government would be the first ones to squeal if some developer circumnavigated local zoning codes and the city/county refused to uphold those codes. You would all be crying about your own property rights and what you are owed if several nights a week you had to watch as people vandalized your property and the police stood by doing nothing.

If Baldi has lost his ABC license it is due to something he did that is in violation of that license. When he applied for a license he had to agree to the rules. It's neither the government's fault or the residents' fault that he failed to comply with those rules.

That entire little business community and dynamic neighborhood has been destroyed by the willful negligence of the City and the majority of it's councilors. What was once a balanced business area living in harmony with it's denizens has been turned into a bit of urban blight where business owners and residents have to build walls and put in security cameras to protect themselves from unregulated business. People can't walk their dogs anymore through there at night, because the sidewalks are blocked and the streets filled with rude and unruly patrons who think that rules don't apply to them.

What's really a joke is that the recent City Councils and Chamber of Commerce seem to think that the only type of development is an over abundance of restaurants and high rise botique hotels which never hada real market, so they sit empty in the wind. And they'll shove it down your throat come heck or high water.

How about some REAL business development that provide full time jobs with benefits? Small tech firms. Research firms. Small manufacturing.

If all you people think this was a great deal, I suggest you reach out to Jim Baldi, and invite him into your neighborhood, and rezone property next to yours so he can continue on in his merry way.

(sorry for going off topic)
My wife and her family are horse people and I can tell you that my experience is if it does "stink" at times it will only last 15 or 20 minutes. It only stinks when it is fresh (or maybe I have gotten used to the un-fresh manure smell) and I only smell it if I am within 10-20 yards of it.

If you garden then become friends with the horse people. Horse manure is great. Although, in my experience, weed seeds survive the trip through the bowels...lots of them. Depending on how the farm is run the horse people may be more than happy to give the manure away.

A very perceptive comment,Ms. Rhodes. While not born in Charlottesville like you, I have lived here most of my adult life.
Twenty years ago I never thought I'd be saying this, but its now my heart's desire to leave. The "urban lifestyle" crapola that the City Council is now trying to foist on us is sickening. Those people think they know better than we how we want to live our lives.

Excellent post Ms. Rhodes...Hollow Boy, I grew up here and am very tired of what C-Ville has become... and there is so much broken here I wouldn't know how or where to start... It's still a better place to live than most, though.

Two of the things that are most broken here are the way people speak to each other and the way folks disrespect their neighbors...

@nicknameoscar - I don't garden, but I DO help feed the horses! I give them apples when the owners say it's okay. the only thing I could complain about is the flies (OMG tons of them), but I knew about them (due to the horses) BEFORE I moved there and decided to accept. Back to the subject, if Bel Rio is that much of a problem, why use NOISE as a catalyst for trying to "tone them down". As said above, a much worse problem must exsist....maybe it will surface soon if it already hasn't.

Ms. Roades' comments are right on target and she made an excellent point regarding "legacy zoning" of business properties being employed to allow business uses unrelated to the same properties' uses in the past. Though not born here I have lived here near 40 years now and can recall some of the small businesses of Belmont whose activities took place during normal working hours of the residents and did not disturb them.

All the apologists for noisy club activities miss another point which is that restaurant owners who can't make it on food sales (and this is common) decide they have to cultivate the heavy drinking party crowd to get enough free spenders in their doors. Saying this is OK because the town needs "business" is a fatuity that could be just as easily used to justify having cock fights or gambling in a back room.

Back in the seventies this town had a lively club culture with plenty of loud music, but the clubs were concentrated in non residential areas near the corner and on Emmet St.
I support "New Urbanism" with mixed use zoning for areas like Belmont, but not all business use is the same. You just can't permit someone to plop a raucous public nuisance right down in an area where there is a concentration of residences. The noise issue is an important element local government needs to focus on because it is a basic civility issue which has not been given the weight it should.

deleted by moderator