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Germantown Beer Garden to remain the same despite neighbor complaints

June 25, 2014

Germantown — An ongoing dispute over noise and music outside the Von Rothenburg Bier Stube continues. The two-year disagreement between neighboring residents and owner Chaz Hastings took to Village Hall June 16 as the Village Board reviewed a liquor license renewal application for the Bier Stube, located at N116 W15863 Main St.

Following a somewhat heated discussion that involved neighbors and Hastings, the board unanimously approved the renewal application and encouraged them to work together to resolve their differences. But if the past two years is any indication, neighboring resident Carrie Schuster said that will not be without challenge.

"I'm against issuing the license until improvements are made," said Schuster, citing issues with the noise levels "We want our quality of life back....this all should have been considered from the start and should not have been dragged out for two years."

Schuster, along with neighbor Nancy Lietzau, have openly opposed the operation of the beer garden since it reopened under new ownership in 2012.

"We hear it three houses away," Lietzau said, calling into question the use of microphones and amplifiers. "A comment has been made that we live in a business district, what do you expect? We don't do this because we want to bug Mr. Hastings...it's just very annoying. It's obnoxious. Come over and visit us on a Friday or Saturday night and you'll be amazed what you'll hear.

Hastings, who owns the beer garden as well as its neighbor Old Town Inn, said he has done everything he can to appease the neighbors to no avail.

"I don't even know where to start with this," he said. "I feel for them, but..when I first bought the place and developed the backyard I had until 11 p.m. and that was taken away from me, so I shut up about the removal of the hour, which I didn't think was fair, I built a much bigger fence that cost me thousands of additional dollars, I did everything I was asked to do."

Though the residents urged the board to consider requiring additional compromises such as the removal of amplifiers and microphones or addition of a sound barrier, Village Attorney Brian Sajdak said that went beyond the bounds of the liquor license renewal and encouraged the residents to work with Hastings toward a solution.

"As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Hastings is operating his business within the ordinance," said Village President Dean Wolter. "I don't want to get on the slippery slope of punishing business when they are following the rules."

Wolter has personally visited several neighboring homes in the area to observe the noise first-hand, as well as facilitated meetings between the residents and Hastings.

"Is it hard to live next to? Absolutely. I would not choose to live there," Wolter said, "but there is a succesful business there and I don't want to punish Mr. Hastings for having a succesful business."

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