PEABODY — The Stonewood Tavern and its owner Sal Palumbo took some hard knocks from the City Council last night, in what was to be a hearing over allowing the Lynnfield Street establishment to expand its entertainment.
But that part of the meeting was over before it started, as Ward Councilor Barry Osborne, speaking on Palumbo’s behalf, asked successfully that the businessman be allowed to withdraw his application “without prejudice,” meaning he can bring it back later. Osborne told colleagues that the owner realized his mistakes in abandoning the restaurant’s initial concept — it was to feature subdued jazz trios — and creating what some residents charge is a nightclub with raucous music.
“I have met several times with the owner,” Osborne said. “I am glad to say he has listened.” With Palumbo silently looking on from the back of the auditorium, the councilor continued, “I think he realizes the mistake he made. I don’t like the way it went. No one likes the way it went. ... He understands, and there is no doubt that he lost the goodwill of the council and the neighbors, and he wants to get it back.”
Osborne explained that Palumbo has made changes at the restaurant to lessen the noise, while retaining more modest hopes for added entertainment, including a function room that might require a disc jockey at times and parties for kids. To make this happen, the councilor hopes to discuss what’s possible with the city solicitor.
“I want it to be successful,” Osborne said of the restaurant, “but not at the expense of the neighbors.”
The council discussed the possibility of asking Palumbo to speak for himself but eventually decided that legal questions would arise if the meeting began to seem like a public hearing, with statements potentially used against the city in court. Instead, some gave vent to questions regarding whether Palumbo had violated city ordinances in expanding the establishment, adding the Amber Room.