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Big Woods cancels rally; supporters speak out
Updated on: 04.27.13

Nashville Town Council approved Big Woods Brewing Co.'s request for a Rally in the Alley on Saturday, May 4, but Big Woods' owners have decided to cancel the popular event.

Big Woods co-owner Jeff McCabe reported Thursday, April 25 that he doesn't plan to have any more block parties in Mollys Lane. The events, featuring live, local, amplified music and Big Woods beer, have drawn hundreds of locals and visitors downtown several times a year, encouraging them to stay past Nashville's typical closing time.

McCabe cited rules from the town that have become "continually more restrictive." A certified letter sent to him by town administration requires that for the May 4 rally:

1. Closing of the alley will be from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.;
2. Music cannot start until after the Spring Blossom parade and must end by 9 p.m.;
3. Music cannot be over 80 decibels, which will be periodically checked by an officer;
4. Big Woods' owners must notify all the abutting property owners in writing and by certified mail prior to the event;
5. Security must be present throughout the event;
6. The parking area for nearby residents must be taped off to prevent people from leaning up against tenants' vehicles;
7. Honeysuckle Lane is to remain open for vehicular traffic;
8. The sidewalk in the alley must be open for foot traffic.

At the April 18 meeting in which the permit was approved, town council members and audience members spoke out about excessive noise from the St. Patrick's Day rally. They said the music could be heard as far away as Brown County IGA and the Helmsburg Road hill.

Council member Jane Gore, who's also an abutting property owner, added that patrons were "extremely rude and inconsiderate" about parking without permission on her private property.

The town's new noise ordinance, updated six months ago with the input of a citizen committee, normally prohibits amplified sound from being heard 25 feet from the immediate premises in a business district -- if it is "an annoyance to another person or persons."

But any group can apply for a special, temporary event permit, and the rules for noise are whatever is specified on the permit.

"How many times do they get to do these things when they're not following the rules?" asked Diane Davern, a resident of apartments that overlook the alley. She said no property owners had been contacted, which had been among rules for previous events. 

"It seems like the council is getting annoyed," said council member Arthur Omberg. "... I will vote for it, but I won't approve any more until they come in and start answering questions."

Big Woods' owners did not attend the meeting.

The letter came a week after the council unanimously voted to allow the rally with the above requirements.

"This is just really another example of how hard it is to do business in Nashville and try to be productive," McCabe said after reading it.

A Facebook page has since sprung up titled "Tell Nashville Town Council: Support Local Music, Save the Rally." It encourages supporters to attend the May 2 council meeting to discuss the "unreasonable decibel restrictions" that could "result in suppressing outdoor music performances in town." So far, 61 people have pledged to attend. 

The Facebook page can be accessed here:

-- Sara Clifford, Brown County Democrat

See Full List »

Josephine Lee Cueto, 62, Morgantown
  Daughter of Priscilla Burgmeier of Nashville

Mary 'Jane' Kollman, 92, Nashville
  Mother of Janet (Tom) Gaskins of Nashville

Charlotte K. (Adkins) Wilson, 67, Franklin
  Former resident of Brown County

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