BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater Township Council is expected to approve a resolution at an upcoming meeting that will allow the Green Knoll Grill to have outdoor music every day from noon to 2 p.m.
There was open discussion about the Green Knoll Grill regarding their live music at the July 17 meeting, and it is expected to be heard for approval at the next meeting.
The Green Knoll Grill has been before the council several times over the past few years regarding noise complaints and requests for outdoor music to be played, all in connection with their liquor license, and conditions placed on it.
Restrictions for outdoor music were placed on the restaurant in 2013, and, in the years since, the Grill has employed a number of different measures to keep the sound contained and prevent it from being heard by nearby residents, including those living in the Crossroads on Route 202/206.
The restrictions were for no live music on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday; no live music after 11 p.m. Wednesday; no live music after 11 p.m. Thursday; no live music after 1 a.m. Saturday morning; and no live music after 1 a.m. Sunday morning.
The restrictions also include having the patio open only from noon to 6 p.m. from October to April, as well as the restaurant not being allowed to play music until 4 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The restaurant had originally requested to extend their live music to every day from April 1 to Oct. 1 from noon to 3 p.m., and noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
But council members said they were unsure about allowing that much of an extension.
Councilman Matthew Moench said he believes concerns raised by the police regarding noise complaints and DWI incidents in the area are valid, but there are certain things that are outside the purview of the restaurant, including accidents that happen on the nearby highway.
“I would be willing to consider some music, but I don’t think we would agree to every day from noon to 3 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m.,” he said. “I would consider some extension on music, and if there are no issues, I am sure the council would be glad to come back next year and discuss it again.”
Councilman Howard Norgalis agreed, and said he would support allowing music from noon to 2 p.m. every day.
The other part of the request from the restaurant is for the allowance to have live outdoor music throughout the entire year, not just from April to October, which is currently allowed.
Moench said he believes that the weather will eliminate a lot of months throughout the year for outdoor music, particularly December, January and February.
“That concerns me less than the music everyday,” he said.
Councilman Filipe Pedroso said he would be wiling to consider Norgalis’s proposal.
Bridgewater Township Police Chief Al Nicaretta said he does not see a problem with expanding the live music as long as there aren’t excessive issues.
“I don’t have a problem with any expansion as long as the citizens are not inconvenienced, and officers don’t have to respond to excessive calls,” he said.
Moench said he wanted it to be clear that just because the council allows the outdoor music now doesn’t mean it will continue if excessive calls come in.
“It doesn’t mean we won’t reconsider this next year,” he said. “If we start getting inundated with issues, I am sure the council will not hesitate to revoke this.”
The council said they would probably support live music between noon and 2 p.m. every day, and the light entertainment is for outdoor lunches or special events like bridal showers and baby showers. The council also said they are not concerned about extending the months of the year that the tiki bar is open.
“The concern is that in October and November of the last three years, the weather has been pretty mild, and so has the beginning of the year in March,” Green Knoll Grill attorney Pasquale Marago said. “The patio can be used all year round, but there are certain restrictions on the time of day and whether there is live music.”
“Some of this is self limiting, depending on the weather and temperature,” he added. “It is going to be based on mother nature.”
Sandra Rhue, who lives in the Crossroads across the street from the restaurant, said she would enjoy having the extra time for outdoor music.
“I like the Green Knoll Grill, I like the food and I like the entertainment,” she said. “I think they’re getting a bad rap.”
Council president Allen Kurdyla said they are in agreement for the outdoor music from noon to 2 p.m., and extending the use of the outdoor patio from March through November, with all the conditions currently in place.
The township attorney is expected to draw up a resolution regarding this change for the next meeting Aug. 7.