BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER
Those who enjoy dinner with a view of the sunset and ocean while dining on the upper deck at Dimitri's Bar Deck and Grill, 790 S. Atlantic Ave., will soon be able to also enjoy live music. But it may be temporary.
After hearing protests from nearby residents, the City Commission gave approval to have live music, but if there are two noise violations, the music will be stopped immediately.
Decibel levels will be taken at the business property line to determine if the music is violating code. The restaurant owner will have the opportunity to go before a special magistrate for a ruling if code enforcement orders the music stopped.
The commission gave Dimitri Bourtzakis, owner, approval to have music from 4-8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Bourtzakis had asked to have music until 11 p.m. each night.
The commission voted in approval, 3-1, with Rick Boehm, who is travelling, absent. Only Troy Kent voted no.
“I, for one, would not be OK with listening to any type of music seven nights a week,” Kent said. “I’m not against Dimitri’s, but I don’t want to make residents suffer.”
Kent, as well as other members of the commission, remarked that they enjoyed eating at the restaurant.
The approval only allows for two musicians and Bourtzakis said it will not be rock music, but rather jazz or island music.
“We have a mellow group of people who want to play music,” he said. The speakers will be near the people on the upper deck so it won’t need to be loud to be heard and the music, being on the upper deck, will disburse and not echo through the neighborhood, he said.
“You have given trust to River Grille. Give it to me,” he said. “Worst case scenario, you take it from me.”
Special exceptions for outdoor music were given in the past to River Grille Restaurant as well as Caffeine (now Grind Gastropub and Kona Tike Bar). However, some commissioners pointed out that those restaurants have more of a buffer from the houses than Dimitri’s, where neighboring residences are at the property line.
Several neighbors of Dimitri’s appeared at the meeting to argue against allowing the music. One said that she was concerned about a party atmosphere at the restaurant.
“We moved to Ormond Beach because we didn’t want to be in Daytona Beach,” she said.
Another said there had already been music at the restaurant and police had to be called.
“He won’t be able to control the people,” she said. “They’ll sing along with the music just like it’s karaoke. I just hope the commission will consider if they would want it near their home.”
She said the music would adversely impact homeowners and downgrade the neighborhood.
Later, Bourtzakis said the incident in question happened when a woman brought a Mr. Microphone and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her daughter.
Kent said he had sympathy for the nearby residents because the upper deck and music were not there when they moved in.
“I have no sympathy for those who complain about the airport, because the airport has been there a long time,” he said. “But this is different.”
Approval for Dimitri’s was recommended by the city planning department, which had conducted tests at the restaurant by reading decibel levels as one person played a guitar.
Dimitri's will be required to not exceed 65 decibels between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and not exceed 60 decibels between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.