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Olde Fish House’s music questioned

No decision yet on special exception request

September 26, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

Concern is still being expressed for the live music that takes place at the Olde Fish House Marina in Matlacha three times a week, as well as during special events, by the property owner of Fisherman's Mobile Home Park.

Zoning Principal Planner Nettie Richardson said as of Sept. 19, the hearing examiner has not issued a decision regarding the Olde Fish House Marina's request for a special exception.

The hearing, which was held on Aug. 29, addressed a special exception for the Olde Fish House Marina Industrial Marine Zone (IM) to allow a group two restaurant with a beer and wine liquor license in conjunction with outdoor seating.

Article Photos

Charlene Russ
The owners of the Olde Fish House Marina in Matlacha are still awaiting news from the hearing examiner for a special exception to allow a group two restaurant with a beer and wine liquor license in conjunction with outdoor seating.

The hearing drew a packed room of supporters, as well as concerned residents.

Although the majority of those who attended the meeting were in favor of the restaurant and beer and wine liquor license, some showed some deep concern about the live music that is currently taking place three times a week and during special events.

Although Richardson only received two phone calls of concern regarding the noise of outdoor music before the hearing, she said she has received more since last month. Unfortunately, she said those complaints will not be included in the hearing because they came in after the hearing was closed.

"You have to contact the Sheriff's Department," Richardson said, if residents want to make a complaint about noise. "They have to go out and do the decibel reader at the property line to determine if they are in compliance or not."

The outdoor music is currently taking place Wednesday and Friday, from 6-9 p.m., and on Sunday, from 2-6 p.m. Special events, fund-raisers or festivals that are held require a temporary permit for the music, which the Olde Fish House Marina has to apply for.

There have been four fund-raisers held at the Olde Fish House Marina so far this year. Those include Save Our Servicemembers (S.O.S.), Benjamin Benefit Bash, Paulie Palooza Benefit and the Matlacha Red Fish Challenge. The fifth event took place on Sept. 22 for the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project.

"It's allowing us to give back to the community and help those who need in the community," Lisa Dence, operating manager of the Olde Fish House Marina, said of the fund-raisers.

Dence said by having music on the property they are brining people into the establishment, allowing them to generate revenue to give back to the community. She said those events have raised $17,000.

"The owners keep contributing, they have not taken a single dime out of the business," Dence said.

She said Matlacha is an art and fishing community - a community of restaurants, bars and music. With the special exception, Dence said, it will allow for the Olde Fish House Marina to provide a better place on the island for tourists and locals to come to listen to music and eat local seafood.

Terrance Thompson, the concerned owner of the Fisherman's Mobile Home Park, said he has many residents who are not in favor of music being played at the Olde Fish House Marina.

"I would have hoped that the neighbors would have contacted me and we could have talked about the music," Thompson said. "I object to a situation to where people in my park are sitting inside of their units and they are hearing the music and they can hear it until 9 at night."

He said the marina was sold some time ago and the new owners have a new strategy. Although he is in favor of the Olde Fish House Marina having sit-down food and a liquor license, he is very concerned about the loudness of the music.

Instead of having an event every month, Thompson said the previous owner would have one every two or three months.

"They generally had the band out by Pine Island Road by the Fish House Marina," he said.

The noise was loud during the previous owners' events, but Thompson said it was generally held on a Sunday afternoon for a few hours. He said the residents of his park thought the noise from the music was very loud, but it was manageable because it was only once in a great while.

Now, Thompson said, the live music is played Wednesday and Friday night, along with Sunday afternoon. He said he's also concern about the planned 12 special events per year with outdoor music.

"At least three outdoor performances and one mega performances once a month, we are going to have a heck of a deal," he said. "Now you have a situation where you just are going to have this mega 12 events a year, which they say are there as fund-raisers. They are special event fund-raisers under the disguise of having a beer fest."

Thompson said he does not want to hurt someone's business, but when the decibel reading is so deafening outside and you can hear the music inside as it vibrates your walls, it's too much.

"I am not opposed to music, restaurant and people drinking beer, I am opposed to incredible noise," he said.



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