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Council Gives Restaurant 30 Days to File or Say Goodbye to License

The City Council has put the owner of Stonewood Tavern on notice he's going to lose his entertainment license if he doesn't submit a plan to scale down the live entertainment at the Amber Room.

Stonewood Tavern is located at 139 Lynnfield St.
Stonewood Tavern is located at 139 Lynnfield St.
Peabody city councilors hope some renewed urgency will get Sal Palumbo's attention and motivate the owner of Stonewood Tavern to file plans with the city to scale down the entertainment at his restaurant.

To that end, councilors voted Thursday night to give Palumbo 30 days to file an amended application for his live entertainment license or lose it.

"If we need to make a motion to deny [the license] to get the guy's attention, I'll make it," said Councilor-at-Large Anne Manning-Martin, clearly annoyed at Palumbo's lack of follow through with the council. "I think Stonewood is in some soup, so to speak."

The license was among several other entertainment licenses that expired on Dec. 31 and which the council was due to renew Thursday as a routine matter of business.

Ward 1 Councilor Barry Osborne singled out Stonewood Tavern, however, because he hasn't heard from Palumbo in weeks nor seen an application to modify the license as he (Palumbo) promised two months ago.

Palumbo came under fire from councilors and neighbors of the Lynnfield Street restaurant this fall over complaints that a new function room -- the Amber Room -- had become a rollicking nightclub with eight- to 10-piece bands regularly performing, and loudly.

That was a far cry from the classic jazz trios councilors and neighbors envisioned when Palumbo first received his permits.

Osborne said Palumbo did meet with him and neighbors after the heated council session in November, Palumbo even sent a letter to the council explaining some of the steps he was taking, including firing four staff members.

One of those steps was also a promise to return to the council to modify his entertainment license and clearly specify what would be allowed. The problem is he didn't submit an amended plan and instead merely filed for renewal.

"I hate to say it, but he appears to be flaunting it and challenging us to take a stand. I think it's time to take a stand," said Councilor-at-Large Tom Gould.

Councilor-at-Large Dave Gravel noted, however, the council hasn't actually proved Palumbo violated his license, despite the general consensus. No disciplinary hearing has been held either.

"Is it this council's desire to put the guy out of business or conform his entertainment license to what he's trying to do?" Gravel a

"The intent is not to put him out of business. It was always going to be a cooperative effort," said Osborne, noting Palumbo took responsibility and showed some good faith by meeting with neighbors and addressing their concerns.

"He [said]...he was going to make changes, but we haven't seen that happen. I don't know why, and it's disappointing," Osborne said. "I don't just want to give him what he [had], because we had problems with that."

Councilors ultimately agreed to renew the license for 30 days, in which Palumbo must file an amended application with the city or else lose the license entirely after that point. If he does file, the council will take it up at its next meeting and schedule a public hearing.
Karl January 10, 2014 at 03:11 PM
Really Councilor Gould? Flaunting it? Ya think? I was in there 2-3 weeks after he last met with the council over the violations and bands were still playing there. This guy obviously could care less about following the rules. And what does firing a few employees solve for the neighbors? Besides, it was he who violated the license, not the fired employees, right?
mark January 11, 2014 at 08:26 AM
So they give this club a license to operate a business, the owner invests hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the business off the ground then the nazi government threatens to shut it down? The government is a big piece of trash!
mom January 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM
Im more concerned that Councilor Gravel thinks asking them to follow the rules is 'trying to drive them out of business' Who exactly does he represent? The licence comes with limits and requirements if the limits are exceeded and/ or the requirements are NOT met then the city has the right and obligation to revoke a license. EVERY business knows this. But lets see what the council does since they are not know for going against their 'friends'.
Ruth Kendrew January 11, 2014 at 12:16 PM
As a long time member of Peabody Chamber of Commerce, I have heard the cry, that Peabody is just a cut through city & not a destination. I would just like to mention that it is all the rules & regulations, like this, that have made the city just a cut through. I thought that the councilors were actually going to make it more business friendly?
Karl January 11, 2014 at 01:47 PM
Ruth I understand your point but this guy knew the rules, agreed to the rules, then turned around and ignored the rules. That isn't anti-business on the city's part, that is the owner being a thoughtless, conniving jerk. Big difference, and Gravel should know better. People that pull these kinds of shenanigans are the reason all these regulations exist in the first place. So should we just let these people do whatever they want no matter how it affects anyone else because it's good for business? Rules are in place for a reason. Whether they should be changed is a separate argument, but that doesn't give him the right to ignore them.
Johnny D January 11, 2014 at 03:20 PM
Sorry Ruth, but a city should care more about it's residents than attracting businesses. WE DO NOT WANT TO BE SALEM!!! I think most of us are okay with being a "cut-through." It should be about attracting families, not the almighty dollar.
mom January 11, 2014 at 05:27 PM
Karl your right It is up to the councilors to uphold the rules. The problem is they dont. Your not suggesting that Gravel did not know the rules? He clearly knew the rules just did not want to follow them. He voting on the parking spaces on main street that effected his own business, a clear conflict of interest, didn't stop him. But then again neither did anyone else on the council. I would not expect much from him. Johnny what is wrong with Salem Johnn
Johnny D January 11, 2014 at 06:32 PM
I feel Peabody is a better place to raise a family, and Salem is a better place to go out on a Friday night. I don't need trains, nightclubs and bars all over my city to have a good quality of life...exactly the opposite actually.
Maria Santos January 12, 2014 at 09:12 AM
I personally don't see any reason why Peabody can't be a city with thriving businesses (that follow rules & regulations) including pubs and nightclubs and also be a great place for families. It's not just about money, it's about pride in the city and moving forward with a bit more innovation in coming together and making different ideas work.
Johnny D January 12, 2014 at 09:27 AM
Everyone is in favor of more business until one they don't approve of moves into THEIR neighborhood...then the gloves come off and people's true feelings come out. I cannot see how more "pubs and nightclubs" equates to pride in the city??? I strongly believe that good schools, well maintained streets and well established neighborhoods create pride in one's community...to each his own I guess.
Bjean January 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM
Great post Johnny. Agreed. Neighborhoods and schools are what its all about. Thats pride.
Karl January 14, 2014 at 09:17 AM
Johnny, the only problem with your post is that without businesses how are you going to pay for good schools and well maintained streets? You need that tax revenue or else nobody would be able to afford to live here because the residential tax rate would be through the roof. It's all about balance, but I agree with your statement regarding the NIMBY mentality.
Silent DoGood February 26, 2014 at 12:15 PM
Funny how no one seems to complain about Capone's... which is literally a stone's throw away / across the parking lot... AND features the same weekly live-band entertainment. Double Standards anyone? Sincerely, The Voice of Reason
mom February 26, 2014 at 12:46 PM
Silent, Capones has a licence for what it is doing. It has been a business like that since the 70's when it was the Summit club just new owners. But when you open a new business you have to state what you want to do then you get a licence. You cant change even if you think it is an improvement without permission from the city. Its like getting the ok for a bed & breakfast for 5 guestrooms then adding on and opening a 50 room hotel. Thats better for you but it will impact the property value and the quality of life of the residents in a negative way. And that is not what you were approved for.
Silent DoGood February 26, 2014 at 01:24 PM
"Mom", I've done quite a bit of reading on this matter today. And it does seem that Stonewood, while originally applying/receiving a license for "smaller" entertainment, has also done its due diligence in regards to making improvements to mitigate the noise. These are both in terms of adding soundproof doors as well as hiring a sound technician. All items that Capone's lacks... As a resident of Metro-West with friends on the North Shore, I've been to both Capone's and Stonewood and the overall quality of sound, noise-level, atmosphere etc is FAR better better and managed at Stonewood's. So again, it's quite surprising to hear people complaining about Stonewood, rather than Capone's which is almost next door. Having said that, it seems that Stonewood has been doing quite well, in that they are expanding their business to include their "Amber" function room. Subsequently, upon the council's inspection, they found the Amber Room to be a function hall, rather than the "night club" which strangely has become a derogatory term, that the opposition seems to claim it to be. Realistic Question: Are you opposed to a business actually doing WELL... and expanding... and creating more tax revenue for your city? You know, tax revenue that keeps your property taxes down, and helps to go pay for roads, schools, etc... ? Because, indirectly, that's what you're accomplishing by holding Stonewood back.
Karl February 26, 2014 at 04:03 PM
Silent, what is it you don't understand about the phrase "follow the rules"? He isn't following the rules he agreed to when he got his permit. If he doesn't like those rules then he should try to get them changed but comply with his permit while appealing it. He doesn't have the right to ignore it. Pretty simple. Also, Capone's doesn't really have any homes close to it, so the noise is less of an issue.
Silent DoGood February 26, 2014 at 04:23 PM
..And if we all followed the rules, we'd still be British colonies. Progress sometimes requires bending and adapting of the rules. Again, the facts are out there -- it looks like the owner is working on amending his license (which takes care of your issue), making improvements to mitigate the complaints, and continue to improve his business. Which in the end, betters your community. What else does this guy need to do -- build you all a new porch and have your lawns landscaped monthly? Or would you rather he uproot his business, and take those jobs and tax revenues to another community?
mom February 26, 2014 at 05:27 PM
Silent, we would only still be the British colonies if we DIDNT all want to be treated fairly!If we didnt care to have a say in our rule. Thats why we have the rules & laws we have because under British rule we did not!! The Crown decied and you followed. Now that the history lesson is over you can not apply for a licence for one business and then change it and say oh well. As for his due diligence you do know that due diligence is something you do BEFORE you take action so that there is no need to mitigate, Stonewood did not do that. And lets be clear if that was all that was needed then they could put a 20 pc band in every night and say oh well I have the sound proofing... We all know since they like to talk that stonewood planned of just building this room and getting it approved because it was already up & they spent money on it. Well it doesn't work that way. If you want to spend money on something, the addition,that is your choice but the fact you spent money on it does not mean it HAS it be approved. You have to follow the same rules as everyone else. They had the same issue up in west Peabody with that breakfast place wanted to be a function hall. You cant bait & switch. Progress benefits EVERYONE not only the one with the friends on the council to help 'Bend' the rules. He can move his business any place he thinks it will work and he clearly thinks it will work here because he does not have to follow the rules. Don think for one minute he didnt think this would go through without a hitch. He has been chatting it up with councilors for months and months.
Silent DoGood February 26, 2014 at 06:17 PM
This will be my last post on this subject before moving onto other community issues that need a voice of reason. That said... as long as we're on the topic of giving lessons, it's quite clear that you have no concept of how sound actually works. It doesn't matter if it's a 20pc band or a 3pc band. It's how the bands are amplified and what measures the venue does to mitigate the sound and prevent it from escaping the venue. Sound is measured in terms of SPL (Sound Pressure Level) by a figure called decibels. (dB). Most towns have noise ordinances stating that it cannot be above a certain dB level, after a time of day. Example, Newport RI has a 60dB (at your property line) noise ordinance after 11pm. 60dB is roughly equal to if we were having this conversation in our living rooms; Or think of it more like a car passing-by on the street outside your home. I would encourage the residents of Peabody to inquire as to the details of your town's noise ordinance, and have a professional measure the SPL at the property line of Stonewood to see if they are breaking that limit. If they aren't, then this issue is nothing more than a few residents that have nothing better to do in their lives except complain about others having fun... because they aren't having any of their own. Now that the science lesson is over, I would also encourage you all to question your local council members. It seems there is PLENTY of blame to go around here -- as to why it's taken so long for them to update/amend the entertainment permit... which appears to have been "in-process" for quite some time.
mom February 26, 2014 at 09:11 PM
Thanks for the sound lesson but it does matter when you go before the board if you tell them you are having a 3 pc band or a 10 pr band. For the most part Peabody like most other citys want business to come & succeed. They dont ask for SPL measurements they ask you what type of business you are hoping to run so they have an idea if it fits the area. You cant say Im opening a little restaurant that will serve breakfast & lunch than build onto it and open a function hall that runs events all weekend. The functions changed from the original purpose. Yes it may make money but it is not as it was presented when it was approved. That is the purposes of the application process. If the residents that live by it find it a problem them it IS an issue. Belittling them will not make you statements correct just shows the lack of respect for those that have to live with a problem they were lied to about.

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