Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Neighbors say Porky’s is too loud

Throughout the spring, summer and fall of this year, neighbors of Lonie Parker’s Porky’s Backyard BBQ on Route 7 in New Haven have endured excessive noise from the backyard, open-air roadhouse constructed behind the restaurant in the spring of this year by Porky’s.
The community relies on the town’s DRB (Development Review Board) to lay out the ground rules for businesses so as to promote harmonious development in the community. That didn’t happen in this case. It’s as though the development guardrails that the DRB was to put in place never got assembled.
A hearing was held in March of this year regarding Parker’s proposed expansion. First, despite neighborhood concerns about amplified music coming from an open sided structure, the New Haven DRB incredibly “anticipated that the music and lighting of the (roadhouse) will have little impact on the neighbors.” I am not an abutter to Porky’s; I live a mile and a quarter across the valley from Porky’s. The music is so loud that we can hear the lyrics of the songs in my dining room with the windows closed. On Oct. 26 the music was so loud that it could be heard over my TV — a mile and a quarter away. Abutters aren’t so lucky — they can’t escape the din. The town must address this noise problem for the coming year.
Second, and again incredibly, the DRB granted Porky’s request to supplement his septic through the intermittent installation of a Portipotty during allowed events. The restaurant’s system has a history of failures and wasn’t designed for the new capacity from the expansion. This is not a permitted exemption under the state’s Wastewater System Supply and Potable Water Supply Rules. The DRB lacks the authority to permit such an exemption from wastewater rules. Even so, once the Portipotty arrived, it remained without removal throughout the spring, summer and fall of this year, despite the DRB’s requirement to remove between events.
On July 23, 2019, Parker received a warning notice from the ZA (zoning administrator) requesting compliance with the DRB’s permit decision within 10 days.
On August 23, 2019, Parker received a Notice of Zoning Violation from the ZA. At this point, Porky’s had been in full operation without a Certificate of Occupancy for four months and did not have the town’s permission for hard liquor service in the roadhouse.
Parker appealed the notice of violation and sought an amendment to his permit. A first hearing held in September was postponed to October. On Oct. 7, a second hearing was held. A DRB member made a motion to grant Parker’s request to keep the Portipotty in place for six months of the year, again despite lacking the authority to make such an exemption to state wastewater rules. The motion was seconded. An attorney present explained the waste water rules; the motion and second were withdrawn and the meeting was continued to Nov. 18 when the town attorney could be present.
Other issues like parking, lighting and operating after hours remain to be resolved. Given the DRB’s history of bending over backwards to give Parker whatever he wants, despite state regulations, the neighborhood is concerned. We have yet to hear from the town about how it intends to address noise issues.
With Parker’s Facebook page soliciting a turnout from his followers for the Nov. 18 DRB meeting, it could be more interesting than a usual DRB meeting. I wonder how many of the followers will be from the neighborhood. No neighbor in opposition to what’s happened at what used to be a pleasant, country, roadside restaurant opposes responsible development, but what’s happened over this spring, summer and fall is a travesty for the surrounding neighborhood. To get along, we all need to live by the rules.
Fred Sargeant
New Haven 

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