, Salem, MA

January 10, 2014

Peabody councilors put Stonewood Tavern on notice

By Alan Burke
Staff Writer

---- — PEABODY — The Stonewood Tavern has 30 days to face the music — or the lack of music.

The City Council last night took advantage of a routine request from the South Peabody restaurant for a renewed 2014 entertainment license to express its unhappiness and apply pressure. While a host of entertainment licenses were approved for 2014, Stonewood’s was limited to 30 days. And the board demanded an “amended” entertainment plan be submitted prior to Feb. 7 in order for that plan to be evaluated at a public hearing during the council meeting on Feb. 13.

Ward Councilor Barry Osborne initiated the motion, saying that owner Sal Palumbo hadn’t followed through on a promise to submit an amended plan for entertainment. Such an agreement grew out of a council meeting in November during which the owner submitted an application to expand entertainment. Annoyed councilors pointed to his original promise to feature a three-person jazz combo, a plan said to be scrapped in favor of raucous music and an expanded, nightclub-type venue.

Nearby residents complained about the noise. Subsequently, Palumbo offered to address their objections, Osborne said.

“But we haven’t seen it happen.” member Dave Gravel said.

“He has not come up with an amended plan,” said member Tom Gould. “We have beaten this dog over and over. I hate to say it, but he is flouting the council.”

“I would think Stonewood is in the soup,” added Councilor Anne Manning Martin. Noting that the license expired on Dec. 30, she said, “As far as I’m concerned, he has no entertainment license.”

Gravel headed off a vote to shut down entertainment for 30 days, noting, “He is not in compliance.” But such a vote would bar even turning on a TV. “Is the council trying to put the guy out of business?”

It’s not, Osborne agreed.

“I want to get this guy’s attention,” Manning Martin said.

Originally, Osborne had recommended taking no action on Palumbo’s renewal request. But there were doubts over whether inaction would even impact Stonewood’s entertainment. City Clerk Tim Spanos said that businesses whose license expires at the end of the year customarily operate while awaiting renewal. The result of taking no action is best answered by the city solicitor, he said.