Bayfront in Naples loose outdoor live entertainment permit –

Bayfront, the Naples shopping, dining and residential development at the corner of Goodlette-Frank Road and US 41 on the Gordon River, is no longer allowed to have outdoor music and events as Naples City Council voted to revoke the development’s live entertainment permit.

Bayfront has a history of receiving complaints from residents about noise levels during events at specific dining establishments. However, the permit was revoked for the outdoor promenade area which is Bayfront’s central common area.

“The impact of what occurs in the promenade, for good or bad depending on your point of view, is something that’s felt perhaps not evenly by every resident but certainly felt to some degree by every resident as well as every visitor to Bayfront,” City Council member Ray Christman said.

The live entertainment permit for the promenade was first granted to Bayfront in 2005 and had multiple conditions. These conditions included allowing a maximum of five performers at one time between the hours of noon and 9 pm Thursday through Sunday, not to exceed two days a week and more than three hours per day. Police and emergency services need at least seven days’ notice prior to each special event, and the ordinance states every event on the promenade is deemed a special event.

Revocation of the permit was up for consideration due to two violations in the past year, one verified violation in December and one in May.

The event in December was a real estate launch party hosted by McQuaid & Co. Tiffany McQuaid, president of the company, said she didn’t foresee the event being in violation as she held similar events in the past without needing a special event permit.

“We’ve worked very closely with fire and police throughout those years that we were doing [events] and they always told us that as long as we were not putting up a tent and that the sound wasn’t heavily amplified or anything like that, that we didn’t need to get a permit,” McQuaid said.

The second event that was in violation was due to exceeding allowable sound limits from a saxophone player.

Although there were only two verified complaints in the past year, the Naples Police Department received four sound complaints from residents in the past year, with the most recent being at the end of July when music from Shane’s Cabana Bar was so loud the responding officer couldn’t ‘t hear the television inside the complainant’s apartment. In a separate instance, Bayfront’s St. Patrick’s Day event was brought to the code enforcement board afterwards since City Council did not approve the event and it was held anyway with modifications.

“I personally do not believe that these indiscretions are intentional, I just think that there’s perhaps a not paying attention to the details of what’s going on versus ‘I know what the code is and I’m going to violate it,’” Naples Code Enforcement Manager Karla Gibbs said.

Bayfront Condominium Association board member Sioban McCarthy and Director of Events Kimberly Golonka were at last week’s council meeting speaking on behalf of the development.

McCarthy explained to council the board sends out surveys to members of the community regarding the desire for events. In the last survey taken by half of the members, 40% of residents were in favor of continuing events and 10% did not want events.

“From our community and from people that we’ve surveyed, they want to have these types of events and we want to be able to deliver that to them and we don’t want to be in violation of any kind of code or rules that have been put in place,” McCarthy said.

Bayfront property owner Kevin Stoneburner is seen by the city as ultimately responsible for managing tenants and insuring compliance with ordinances. However, Stoneburner was not present at the council meeting due to a scheduling conflict.

“For me to be there to defend myself, I guess I could have made a special attempt to, but I just didn’t see it as something that was going to be as it turned out,” Stoneburner said.

The absence of Stoneburner at the meeting did not sit well with a couple of the councilors as some expressed feelings that Bayfront does not want to own up to its violations.

“I just think we just have this chronic problem and nobody on behalf of the owner seems to want to assume the responsibility of compliance,” council member Paul Perry said. “So, I think we’re stuck with is we’re just going to have to revoke the permit because I don’t see that there’s any other solutions.”

The council voted unanimously to revoke the permit. Moving forward, it’s now a question of whether McQuaid & Co. will continue with their larger events such as Taste of Collier which has been hosted at Bayfront for many years with a large music scene.

“Music is a huge part of our local culture and when we do those events, we do our best to help employ local artists to be able to showcase that part of the talents as well as the food, that’s all part of Southwest Florida,” McQuaid said. “It’s unfortunate, it’s our dream to continue to keep them there on that site, where it’s been their home.”

Local business owners such as Chris Jones of Industry Beer & Barbeque in Bayfront are concerned with this permit revocation will negatively affect their customer traffic. “We’re always concerned with what happens at Bayfront. That kind of ebbs and flows of the activities that happen down here absolutely benefit our business,” Jones said. “So, we’re obviously pro music, we’re pro entertainment, we’re pro all that stuff that can go on down there that has gone down there in the past.”

Council member Terry Hutchinson sees this decision as a message to the entire Naples business community. “I believe there are expectations not only at Bayfront but throughout our community not to trend this way, not to make our community one where we continue to have this fight where people are subjected to unreasonable noise levels.”

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