That is the question the Sandra Stuller, the deputy Telluride Liquor License Authority, will face on May 27 when she will decide whether or not to renew the Bubble Lounge’s license.
Bubble Lounge owners Troy Wilsey and Kelly Randazzo were found guilty on March 14 by Municipal Judge David S. Westfall on four separate noise violations. Sentencing for those violations is set for May 23.
Wilsey and Randazzo were notified on Wednesday that that they were to appear before town council for their liquor license renewal on May 27. That notice warned the owners that there is a chance the application for renewal might not be approved.
The notice stated that it “has been determined that there is good cause to deny the liquor license renewal application” of the Bubble Lounge for a tavern license. The notice then listed the four separate noise violations as reasons why the license might not be renewed.
Liquor license renewals are usually routine. Given the controversy that has surrounded the Bubble Lounge, with supporters arguing that it is an important amenity for locals and visitors alike and neighbors complaining about noise, Tuesday’s hearing is likely to be anything but routine.
The noise violations were issued by the Telluride Marshal’s Department throughout the summer and fall of 2007.
Residents Bob Dempsey and Suzanne Dahl live next door to the Bubble Lounge and in some places, share a wall with the popular music venue. The live music at the lounge has brought the two residents countless sleepless nights, they say. While on the stand at the Feb. 1 trial, both Dahl and Dempsey told Westfall that they have tried everything to find ways to sleep through the music, but sometimes must resort to calling the marshal’s department.
For both Dempsy and Dahl, as well as for Wilsey and Randazzo, the heart of the problem lies within the fact that both the nightspot and the residences are located in a commercial/residential zone.
“It sounds like they are going to drag us across the coals here,” Wilsey said in an interview on Thursday. “Is the town seriously thinking about taking a musical venue away from main street? If we can’t do this on main street, where in Telluride do we do it.”
Both Wilsey and Randazzo said that they have tried to mitigate the noise problems by hiring a sound engineer to make the lounge more soundproof and have told bands to lower the volume every time they received a complaint.
“There is nothing in place to protect the businesses in town,” Wilsey said.
At the trial, Westfall heard testimony from two officers from the marshal’s department who wrote the citations. They told the court that they don’t write citations every time they receive a noise complaint and that usually they try to get the volume lowered before a ticket is written. The town’s noise ordinance states that a noise is a violation if an “unnecessary noise” can be heard from 50 feet away
The timing of the liquor licensing hearing is also problematic for Wilsey. He said that the two plan on re-opening the bar after off-season just days before their hearing.
“We need to ramp up our inventory for our opening and we don’t even know that we will have a license,” he said. “Besides the stresses of money and putting in it into attorneys, we are now in a position that will put us further into debt and then they may pull the license from us. The timing of this review is pretty unfortunate.”
Wilsey and Randazzo are members of the newly-formed Telluride Business Alliance, which states its primary goal as an organization is “to do everything we can to keep the community’s economy strong and stable,” according to its website.
Wisley said the couple is trying to be active through that organization in finding ways to protect main street businesses. The owners also face fines up to $1,000 per violation at their sentencing hearing.
For more information about the Telluride Business Alliance visit www.telluridebusinessalliance.com/