A RiNo music venue that admitted to 13 noise violations in three months this summer will be prohibited from playing music during six days in November.
An attorney for frustrated neighbors calls that a slap on the wrist.
Number 38, at 3560 Chestnut Place, has annoyed some people who live near it by playing loud outdoor music. In May, the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses determined it had violated noise codes and prohibited it from playing non-acoustic music outside.
Over the summer, neighbors repeatedly accused Number 38 of violating that ban and Excise and Licenses determined there were 14 violations between May and August. The city agency scheduled a hearing for Oct. 15 to determine Number 38’s punishment.
But on Thursday, one day before that hearing, Number 38 reached a settlement with Excise and Licenses. It admitted to 13 noise violations, agreed to pay a $1,998 fine and promised not to play any music, live or recorded, between Nov. 3-5 and Nov. 10-12.
“This is a slap on the wrist, truly,” said Tom Downey. The former Excise and Licenses director is a lawyer at the Denver firm Ireland Stapleton and the attorney for the angry neighbors.
“To not be able to play music for six days during the cold months, along with a less than $2,000 fine — that tells these guys they can get away with anything and they have,” Downey said of the settlement. “There is no disincentive to curtail their behavior.”
Andrew Palmquist, a co-owner of Number 38, called his hangout “a vibrant gathering place” that opened two years ago “with overwhelming approval from our neighborhood.”
“Since then, and after discussions with representatives from the city, we have operated within what we believed to be the guidelines of the restrictions on our cabaret license,” he said in a statement. “As of this week, we received confirmation on the nuances of our operations related to live and background music and some clarity on what we may currently provide.”
Palmquist said he has asked the city to modify Number 38’s dance cabaret license — the permit that allows it to play live music — in a way that “meets the needs of both our community and our customers, continuing Number 38’s celebration of Colorado.”
A spokeswoman for Number 38 said the modification request was filed Thursday but declined to provide a copy or details about what changes Number 38 is seeking. A spokesman for Excise and Licenses said Friday that his department hasn’t processed the request.
Downey, meanwhile, doesn’t expect Number 38 to stop violating city rules.
“A simple prediction, as we have predicted every time before: There will be a lull now during the cold months and then, when it’s warm again, they will break the special rules that only apply to them,” he said. “There will be more violations, to the detriment of the neighbors.”