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Lake Nebagamon music ordinance court challenge continues
The owners of the Waterfront Grill in Lake Nebagamon filed a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the Village’s music ordinances. The case is moving through the system. Jim Leino reports.
Citing it as a First Amendment question, the case is moving through the system, with a hearing expected next year.
Glenn Stoddard is the lawyer representing John Graves, owner of the Waterfront Bar and Grill. Stoddard says because the Waterfront is the only bar and grill in town with a live music venue, the village’s ordinances unfairly single it out.
“We’re challenging a set of ordinances, two ordinances, a ‘cabaret’ ordinance and a ‘noise’ ordinance, that he village adopted. We believe that they adopted the ordinances to target his business.”
Stoddard says the ordinances are unfair because they prohibit late-night music specifically, overlooking other sources of noise such as ATVs, snowmobiles, and chainsaws.
“When they adopted these ordinances they specifically came to my client’s business and told him that he would not be able to have live music events after ten o’clock and that they would be watching his business. He’s really the only business in town that has live music.”
Stoddard says such ordinances threaten the Waterfront Bar and Grill when customers to seek live entertainment elsewhere during the summer tourist season.
“It requires a permit every time that they want to have music or an event. My client has been required to go before the village board and request a permit. It gives the board a lot of discretion in potentially denying such a permit.”
Swan Dawson is the Clerk Treasurer of the Village of Lake Nebagamon. She says the ordinances are applied fairly to all Lake Nebagamon businesses.
“The rules we have on noise, or the "cabaret" ordinance in the Village of Lake Nebagamon, are made for everyone and we treat everybody the same.”
The lawsuit has been filed in Federal Court in Wisconsin’s Western District, both sides of the lawsuit are obtaining information to prepare for the upcoming trial, slated to begin sometime after the start of next year.
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