Agave is Granted Entertainment License; Neighbor Initially Concerned
Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, in which Chris D’Amato was unanimously appointed to fill Lauren Murphy’s seat until the special election in November, began with a hearing for Agave Cantina Mexicana. Relatively new to Piaget Avenue, this contemporary restaurant was seeking an entertainment license, which would allow them to host live music.
Agave was represented by the manager and owner, Maria De Dios. Co-owner Alex De Dios and their daughter Stephanie, who is also a manager for the restaurant, were also present. City Attorney Matt Priore ran through some basic questions, establishing that the fire code occupancy is 75 and that the restaurant has 70 seats, and that there is approximately a 50/50 food and drink split. The entire building has been renovated, brought up to code, and fitted with soundproofing, De Dios said. Priore advised that the council has never approved a DJ for Sunday nights and De Dios withdrew that part of the application, instead seeking approval for Friday and Saturday nights until 1 am and on Sundays until 4 pm.
A resident of Barkley Avenue, a nearby and mostly residential street, stood to object to the entertainment license once public comment was invited. She said that it used to be very quiet and peaceful on her street but, “All that changed in the last five to ten years.” The neighbor wanted to know who was going to enforce the noise ordinance if the music got too loud and Priore explained that the Health Officer is responsible for following up on such complaints, but added that she could call the non-emergency police number. Priore recommended that the owners provide a phone number for people to call if they’re having an issue and De Dios nodded in agreement. De Dios and the resident then had a friendly exchange, with the restauranteur assuring the neighbor that they did not want to create problems for anyone and the neighbor saying that she didn’t want to make trouble for the business. Alex De Dios interjected, saying, “We just want to bring something new to the town.”
Councilwoman Mary Sadrakula had some concerns that the CPD’s CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) report indicated that there have been several false alarms at Agave. De Dios acknowledged that they’d had some issues with the alarm system but said they’d addressed them. There is no security at the restaurant; entertainment is during dinner and it doesn’t operate as a nightclub. Sadrakula suggested that they routinely check on their parking lot regardless because sometimes people can get loud and disturb the neighbors. She advised the neighbor from Barkley that it’s important to call the police when there are problems so that the complaint is registered. This helps the police and the city keep track of businesses where complaints are routine.
With the neighbor and the owners seeming satisfied, Councilman Tony Latona motioned to approve and the entertainment license was unanimously granted.