Middletown Zoning Enforcement Officer Bruce Driska has informed the owners of Public Bar and Grill at 337 Main Street that they must cease and desist using a recently expanded area of the restaurant.
After complaints by a neighbor surfaced in the comments section of the Middletown Eye, city officials inspected the newly constructed lounge, and Mayor Sebastian Giuliano met with Public Bar and Grill owners.
"I don't want any restaurant on Main Street to close down," Giuliano said. "But the owners have to abide by their agreement with the city, and they have to be considerate of their neighbors, and surrounding businesses. I won't allow one bad apple to ruin all the progress we've made on Main Street."
As a result of complaints by neighbors, a change in the use of that lounge by Public's owners, and a listing of more than 60 calls to police in a 16 month period, the cease and desist order was issued.
Legal representatives of Public plan to appeal the cease and desist order at the next meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and following that, they plan to present an revised request for special exception to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Public was granted permission by the Planning and Zoning commission to expand their club into an additional lounge area under a set of strict guidelines created by the Department of Planning, Conservation and Development.
According to the original special exception granted by P&Z, the granted exception would have to be re-examined by the P&Z if there was a transfer of liquor license, repeated public health or fire code violations or noise violations in excess of three per year. In the case of those violations, the P&Z reserves the right to revoke permission to use the expanded lounge.