Board members deferred the issue at their April meeting, when a number of neighbors spoke out against allowing the permit. The restaurant co-owners were given five months to establish the business as one that police do not have to visit regularly, and to improve relations with neighbors.
The county staff report indicates that police have not encountered problems at the site during the past five months. There were also no complaints from community members. Additionally, the owners attended an Arlington Heights Civic Association meeting, and are working with county staff on conditions for allowing the permit.
One such condition is that music and dancing would not be permitted after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and not after 10:00 p.m. on weeknights. In addition, entertainment would be restricted to the ground floor in the section of the building closest to Columbia Pike, in an attempt to avoid projecting noise toward residences behind the building. County staff also requested that the restaurant hire dedicated security for the parking lot. To improve the restaurant’s standing with the surrounding community, the owners are to coordinate a standing meeting with the Arlington Heights Civic Association in order to foster a relationship and ensure that any problems are addressed.
The owners have agreed to all the conditions, along with the recommendation of an administrative review in three months, and a County Board review in six months. Should issues come to light during the three month review, the permit could be brought before the County Board for an off-cycle review. Plus, at any time, if more than two violations of the conditions occur, the County Manager can order the restaurant to immediately cease live entertainment until the Board re-examines the permit.
The Arlington Height Civic Association has stood firm in its opposition to allowing Pines of Italy to host live entertainment, based on more than a decade of trouble with owners and clientele. At April’s Board meeting, neighbors reported fearing for themselves and their children due to extremely drunk patrons stumbling through surrounding residential areas, destroying property and starting bloody fights.
Although three applicants are listed on the permit request, one of them has been involved with the property since he purchased it in 1999 when it was Coco’s. In 2001, the County Board revoked Coco’s entertainment permit because of excessive police issues, and a new one was granted in 2002. Problems have arisen off and on since that time, with the peak coming in 2011 when the property was known as Padrinos.
Due to the owners agreeing to the conditions laid out in the staff report, county staff members recommend the County Board approves the entertainment permit for Pines of Italy.