Billy’s on Grand’s request for a sound-level variance for its Grand Days promotion on Sunday, June 5, will be heard by the Saint Paul City Council at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 1. Billy’s, 857 Grand Ave., is seeking the variance to allow amplified music from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. not exceeding 85 decibels at a distance of 50 feet from any sound source.

Billy’s had initially sought sound-level variances for five dates, including a Juneteenth celebration on June 19, Freedom Day on July 2, a food truck event on July 23 and Kids’ Day on August 20. It also wanted to extend liquor service to its parking lot for all five events. However, Billy’s then revised its request for sound-level variances only, and the requests for June 19 and thereafter will be heard at a later date.

Wes Spearman and Chuck Gilbert of Billy’s management team said the bar and restaurant decided to drop the plan for music on the parking lot and instead will only have a DJ spinning tunes inside. However, the music will be broadcast to the patio and the building’s garage-style doors will be opened.

SHA board president Denise Aldrich said that she and others in the neighborhood want Billy’s to succeed and would like to promote activity on Grand Avenue. “But I’m uncomfortable with approving (sound-level variances for) five events when we do not know what will actually happen,” she added.

   

The Summit Hill Association (SHA) took no position on Billy’s request for a sound-level variance on June 5. The SHA Zoning and Land Use Committee held a virtual meeting on Billy’s request for five sound-level variances on May 24. About 15 people participated in the call. Neighbors said they were concerned about previous incidents at Billy’s, including loud noise and disruptive behavior late at night and early in the morning.

SHA committee members asked about a Police Department report for May 21. Officers were dispatched to Billy’s at 12:41 a.m. that Saturday when a “911” caller reported somebody standing in the street screaming, according to police spokesperson Steve Linders. Officers arrived and found people arguing with Billy’s security personnel. Officers attempted to speak to the security personnel about the incident, but the security team locked the door and refused to speak with the police.

Gilbert questioned whether the May 21 incident ever took place, saying Billy’s has never denied access to the police. However, after seeing the police report during the meeting, he and Spearman said they were not aware of the incident and would check with their staff.

 

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SHA board president Denise Aldrich said that she and others in the neighborhood want Billy’s to succeed and would like to promote activity on Grand Avenue. “But I’m uncomfortable with approving (sound-level variances for) five events when we do not know what will actually happen,” she added.

Public comments on Billy’s sound-level variance request for June 5 are being accepted in writing or by voicemail by noon Tuesday, May 31. Email council@ci.stpaul.mn.us or councilhearing@ci.stpaul.mn.us or call 651-266-6805. Testimony will be taken in person at the June 1 hearing from those who preregister by noon on May 31 at stpaul.gov/council.

The June 1 City Council meeting may be watched online at stpaul.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx or local cable Channel 18.

— Jane McClure

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