The show will go on.
The Langley City Council gave The Machine Shop a unanimous thumbs up for an indoor live amplified music event scheduled for Saturday. It also declined to reconsider its previous vote to increase the maximum number of events permitted in a year from six to 12 at a special session on Wednesday night. Council members Burt Beusch, Thomas Gill and Dominque Emerson considered arguments by nearly a dozen people in the council chambers who were for and against the increase in live amplified events.
Council members Ursula Shoudy and Bruce Allen could not attend for work and personal reasons, respectively.
Emerson said 12 indoor events in a year doesn’t seem “onerous” and that she trusts the permit process. City code requires applicants in “neighborhood business zones” to request special event permits before live amplified music can be played. Demonstrating satisfactory attention to noise impacts with adjacent residential properties is also required. The events typically last three hours and end at 10 p.m.
The Machine Shop’s owner, Tim Leonard, requested the special session so he could formally ask for a permit for his event Saturday night on Second Street and De Bruyn Avenue, while also providing an opportunity to discuss issues surrounding the topic.
During public comment, members of the Langley Association of Neighbors Downtown (LAND) claimed that previous events were disruptive to their home lives, property values will diminish and that the venue’s location is not conducive to neighborhoods. They also said the city and city council did not provide sufficient notice and public comment prior to June 5 and June 19 meetings, where first and second readings of the ordinance were conducted, respectively.
Langley resident Barbara Small, a member of LAND, said that communications with Leonard decreased over time and that he did not follow through on a promise not to request more than six events in a year. She said The Machine Shop’s most recent event was “disturbing” to her “peace of mind and well being.”
“It interferes with my sleep, which can trigger a problem I have with irregular heart rhythm,” Small said. “Having to ask for compliance with the ordinance governing noise is also an additional stress.”
Leonard said he did communicate with LAND and was cognizant of their complaints following a council meeting in October 2016, even agreeing not to request more than six events. But, nearly a year later, he heard from a member of LAND that she had no problems with The Machine Shop. He also checked with a city clerk on a monthly basis if there were complaints about The Machine Shop and heard there were none. He held his sixth event this year in June and requested the increase to 12 so he could hold more events the rest of the year.
Other attendees of the meeting said the increase in live events is a welcome change for young people and that the event is family friendly with no alcohol consumption. Some also said it helps keep Langley from becoming stagnant and gives youth a place to stay out of trouble.
Bobbi Manella, a parent, said she lives across the street from The Machine Shop and that her child’s early bedtime in the evening has not been disrupted by The Machine Shop.
“We love The Machine Shop and what it provides for our family, and for the kids,” Manella said. “I think it’s a great place, again, for young local kids to go to that is safe. It provides an easy place for them to enjoy themselves a little bit in a town that doesn’t cater to that age group.”
Orion Winter echoed Manella’s sentiments.
“A lot of what we do is drive around because, honestly, later in the night there isn’t much to do,” Winter said. “I think having once-a-month events at The Machine Shop really aids me and the people I know because we are able to spend our time other than just sitting around wishing there was something we could do.”
Leonard said he was pleased by the level of support his business received and hopes the meeting dispelled misconceptions about The Machine Shop.
“I’m not Mo’s Pub,” Leonard said. “Things will be different. I think I’ve shown that.”
Leonard expects the topic will continue to be discussed at future meetings. He also said that the ordinance does not just pertain to The Machine Shop, but all Langley businesses.
“It’s not just me,” he said. There’s going to be other things going on in Langley. That’s what some people want, but some people don’t.”
“Let’s embrace it and do it well.”