Bayfront residents want plug pulled on Rockin' on the Bay concerts

Bayfront condo residents ask Naples City Council to end downtown music series that has drawn hundreds

Crowds have been packing the Rockin' on the Bay concert series like this one on Jan. 19 at Bayfront in Naples. The evenings have been scheduled through March and feature a different tribute band every Saturday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. All Saturday concerts are free and parking is available for $5. Eric Strachan/Naples Daily News

Photo by ERIC STRACHAN // Buy this photo

Crowds have been packing the Rockin' on the Bay concert series like this one on Jan. 19 at Bayfront in Naples. The evenings have been scheduled through March and feature a different tribute band every Saturday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. All Saturday concerts are free and parking is available for $5. Eric Strachan/Naples Daily News

People watch from one of the upstairs condominiums during the Jan. 19, 2013 Rockin' on the Bay featuring the Eagles tribute band, 'Alter Eagles.' Eric Strachan/Naples Daily News

Photo by ERIC STRACHAN // Buy this photo

People watch from one of the upstairs condominiums during the Jan. 19, 2013 Rockin' on the Bay featuring the Eagles tribute band, 'Alter Eagles.' Eric Strachan/Naples Daily News

Guitarist Greg Pitts of the Eagles tribute band, 'Alter Eagles,' rips a solo during the Jan. 19 Rockin' On The Bay at Bayfront in Naples. The popular free public concert series open to the public and held at Bayfront in Naples. The Bayfront Condo Association wants the Rockin' on the Bay concert series shut down. They had their attorney send a letter to the city and the event organizer saying they've violated their permit, playing too loudly, having more people than expected and setting up early and shutting down late. Eric Strachan/Naples Daily News

Photo by ERIC STRACHAN // Buy this photo

Guitarist Greg Pitts of the Eagles tribute band, 'Alter Eagles,' rips a solo during the Jan. 19 Rockin' On The Bay at Bayfront in Naples. The popular free public concert series open to the public and held at Bayfront in Naples. The Bayfront Condo Association wants the Rockin' on the Bay concert series shut down. They had their attorney send a letter to the city and the event organizer saying they've violated their permit, playing too loudly, having more people than expected and setting up early and shutting down late. Eric Strachan/Naples Daily News

Crowds have been packing the Rockin' on the Bay concert series like this one on Jan. 19 at Bayfront in Naples. The evenings have been scheduled through March and feature a different tribute band every Saturday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. All Saturday concerts are free and parking is available for $5. Eric Strachan/Naples Daily News

Photo by ERIC STRACHAN // Buy this photo

Crowds have been packing the Rockin' on the Bay concert series like this one on Jan. 19 at Bayfront in Naples. The evenings have been scheduled through March and feature a different tribute band every Saturday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. All Saturday concerts are free and parking is available for $5. Eric Strachan/Naples Daily News

Residents of Bayfront have taken a stand against a weekly Saturday night concert series flooding the waterfront property with more than 2,000 attendees.

Their stance could affect how Naples City Council votes at its Wednesday meeting when organizers ask for additional concert dates.

An attorney on behalf of The Bayfront Condo of Naples Inc. sent a letter Thursday to Naples officials and organizers of Rockin' on the Bay, saying organizers violated their permit, causing "unreasonable burdens and safety issues for the Association members." The condo residents want the concerts to end, the letter states.

Attorney Gregory Marler, of the law office Becker & Polakoff, and the association's president, Gary Histed, declined to comment Friday.

According to the letter, the association had these complaints:

The event permit is for a gathering of 500 people. It has been estimated that more than 2,000 people have attended the first few concerts.

The permit doesn't provide for adequate parking.

Organizers are setting up on Fridays, a full day in advance of the permitted setup time of 2 p.m. Saturday.

Portable toilets brought in for the event were left out on a Monday morning when the permit states all cleanup must be done by noon Sunday.

Outside vendors have been present, which is not allowed in the permit.

Decibel levels have exceeded the permitted level.

The condo association, according to the letter, objects to tonight's concert, featuring a Billy Joel tribute band, because of those complaints and doesn't want the city to issue permits for any more concerts.

Mike Randall, of McQuaid Marketing, which puts on the event, said the complaint letter blindsided him.

"By all means, we don't want to make anyone upset," he said.

The event features live bands each Saturday along Bayfront's promenade.

The first two concerts took place under an events permit held by the property developer.

When McQuaid Marketing gained approval from the council for their own permit at a Jan. 16 meeting, it was on the condition it staff firefighter paramedics and police officers, fix parking problems in Bayfront and prevent jaywalking across Goodlette-Frank Road.

Rockin' on the Bay began charging $5 for off-site parking a few blocks away, shuttling passengers to the concert.

Their new permit was to be reviewed by the council before more events in the 13-week series could be permitted.

If organizers received another verified noise complaint, the events could be shut down.

"We are just completely caught off guard," Randall said in response to the association's letter. "We're just trying to get through Saturday and just take it from there."

Don Kirkwood, a resident of Bayfront and former president of the condo association, said noise is an ongoing issue in the "acoustical canyon" he calls home.

Kirkwood said residents of the mixed-use property sign agreements upon move-in acknowledging potential noise from commercial tenants of the buildings, but concerts on the promenade aren't part of the deal.

When Kirkwood came home from dinner to a recent Rockin' on the Bay concert, he could still hear the music playing outside through his closed storm doors with the TV on.

"I happen to be a man that likes everything from disco to the Eagles to Johnny Cash to Beethoven," Kirkwood said. "But the point is we want to select the music we want, not the music picked by 2,000 people trampling our property."

Noise from live music was a problem when Kirkwood was president a few years ago and residents bought their own sound meters to make a point.

Those with the meters measured Rockin' on the Bay concerts at 90 decibels, Kirkwood said.

Roger Jacobsen, head of code enforcement for Naples, said the city's noise ordinance limits events to 65 decibels before 10 p.m. and 60 decibels after 10 p.m.

City Manager Bill Moss said the event has not received a verified noise complaint to jeopardize the new permit.

Randall said McQuaid Marketing wants to put on a good event for all in the community, including Bayfront residents. He said organizers have tweaked aspects of the show each week to avoid complaints and he was surprised to receive Bayfront's letter.

"We kind of had the wind knocked out of us here," he said. "Our hearts have been in the right place."

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