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Glen Cove allows outdoor music at restaurants

The Glen Cove City Council has approved allowing restaurants to play amplified music outdoors.

The vote at a special meeting Tuesday night followed an hourlong hearing at which many residents opposed the change to the city code as imperiling their peace and quiet. But business owners, the chamber of commerce and business improvement district officials said it would help restaurants.

Mayor Reginald Spinello said the measure was intended "to give businesses an opportunity to do more business . . . at the same time we want to be aware and to recognize the concerns in the neighborhoods."

After the vote, Spinello said, "it's fair . . . [and] reasonable."

The measure passed 6-1. Republican Efraim Spagnoletti, who voted no, said he sympathized with residents who could face unwanted noise.

The council amended the city code to allow restaurants to apply for annual permits to play outdoor music from Memorial Day through Sept. 30, on Fridays and Saturdays until 10:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. on Sundays.

The permits will cost $50 and be issued by the building department. The mayor could revoke them for cause.

The mayor and several City Council members characterized the amendment as a trial or test, but it will remain a city law until it is repealed or amended.

Robert Pagano, acting manager and director at the Glen Cove Mansion Hotel and Conference Center, said the venue hasn't performed well since the recession. "A big part of that has been our lack of ability to hold events outside, especially wedding events," he said. "Allowing this permit process and amplified music would really improve the position of the mansion and keep it as an ongoing profitable entity."

Some residents said they only learned of the issue on Tuesday and questioned why it had been brought to a vote so quickly -- Spinello announced the proposal on Friday.

"This was a railroad job, it wasn't a compromise," said Larry Affrunti, 60, an electrical contractor from the East Island neighborhood. The "timing of the meeting was suspect."

Other residents expressed disbelief that the city would allow this again after past problems.

"We lived through this hell seven years ago," said Joseph Renaghan, 69, a semiretired attorney living in East Island. He said one place played music late at night that rattled windows and made it impossible to sleep without turning on air-conditioning. "It was just intolerable."

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