The Tivoli Planning Board has approved a new site plan for Murray’s restaurant on Broadway, which includes specifications for the lighting and sound system on the outdoor patio. Murray’s was found to be in violation of its previous site plan for using unapproved equipment in the outdoor seating area.
The outdoor area will now be lit by overhead string lighting and the sound will be provided by 4 low-watt elevated speakers that face the center of the patio. Murray’s proprietors, Jake Stortini and Jesse Feldmus, told the board Sept. 17 that they deviated from the original site plan because the approved lights and speaker setup proved to be too disruptive to both diners and neighbors. They switched to what they believed to be a more intimate atmosphere, but did not get prior approval from the Planning Board.
The Tivoli Planning Board has been paying close attention to the outdoor seating area, as a general concern over increased late night noise and light in the center of the village has become a major concern. Several members of the public used the hearing on Sept. 17 to caution the planners against setting a precedent in the site plan that would allow current or future owners of the establishment to play loud or disruptive music. A complaint was also made about a concert that was held on the patio featuring live music, despite Murray’s having approval for playing only pre-recorded music outside.
Both residents and board members emphasized that Murray’s was being “tastefully run, however, their concern was for the future. Residents pointed to the gradual transformation of the nearby Black Swan from a relatively quiet pub to the most frequent subject of noise complaints in the village as an example of the importance of keeping businesses in compliance with their approved plan.
Murray’s proprietors acknowledged that an official change to the site plan should have been sought before installing new equipment. But they also said that their business was becoming the focus of misplaced frustration.
After hearing the public comments, the board ruled that Murray’s current setup did not pose a disturbance to the neighborhood and voted to include it in the cafe’s official site plan.