MARGATE — Of the city’s 10 liquor-serving establishments, two led the pack in noise complaints in 2015 with 17 each. Perhaps coincidentally, these two bars boast lively outside service areas, live music and a crowd that comes to party.
Ventura’s Greenhouse and Maynard’s seem to be relics in a resort town that is becoming increasingly less rowdy.
“It’s changed a lot. Margate itself had six or seven more bars than it does now. It was almost 100 percent seasonal back then,” said Steve Troiano, owner of Maynard’s, as he spouted off the names of various establishments that made up the Barbary Coast. “Friday and Saturdays, every bar had bands, and at four o’clock in the morning there’d literally be four or five thousand people on the street. Now it’s 100 percent different. Talk about noise: That was noise.”
While the number of complaints is relatively high compared with the rest of the restaurants and bars, they tend to come from a few neighbors, police said.
At Ventura’s, located next door to Lucy the Elephant, the complaints are mostly related to daytime noise from the tiki bar. The complainants are mainly from two neighboring condos, said Detective Joseph Scullion, spokesman for the Police Department.
Scullion said that for Maynard’s, the majority of complaints — 12 of the 17 — came from one residence: the home of Cindy and Joel Naroff, who have been fighting to have the 100-year-old institution quiet down since they moved to the island.
The Naroffs bought their summer home in October 2007. It wasn’t until summer 2008 that Naroff said he and his wife realized they had a problem.
“It was a shock to us. That’s when I went to the commissioners,” Naroff said.
Mayor Mike Becker said that, over the years, the city has stepped in, passed zoning regulations and brokered a deal in which Maynard’s would enclose the area in the back where noise was coming from. He called it a “Hatfield and McCoy relationship” between Naroff and Troiano.
“It’s been years going on, and it just doesn’t work for either one,” Becker said.
The fight escalated last fall when, during a fundraiser hosted by Maynard’s, Naroff called police about the noise. The complaint resulted in a confrontation and claims that Troiano made an anti-Semitic remark.
Naroff subsequently filed a complaint with the Police Department. Troiano was never charged.
Troiano said his comment was not meant to threaten or be nasty.
“He just took it as an offense. Legally, there was nothing illegal about what I said,” he said.
Naroff said he was extremely offended and even met with city officials about the incident.
Scullion agreed that Naroff’s home seems to absorb the noise more than surrounding homes.
“It may not sound loud to other houses around there, but for some reason, because of his outside deck, the music seems to ricochet off of other peoples’ buildings and it is loud inside his residence,” he said.
The key is to find a balance, Scullion said.
“We know Maynard’s has a legitimate business there and they’re trying to make some money, but it’s a quality-of-life issue for Mr. Naroff,” he said.
Despite the fact that Margate no longer offers motels or hotels, Troiano said most residents have been supportive of his business.
“You need a place where they can go out and have a good time,” he said.
Naroff said that as the community changes, the bar scene must evolve.
“How do you have outside music and people drinking until 4 a.m. in the middle of an upscale residential community?” he asked.
Troiano said he’s done everything that Naroff and the city have asked him to do to cut down on the noise. He said the outside music ends at 10 p.m., per city ordinance.
“You’re in a resort town. We have three months to make it. People have to give a little bit,” Troiano said.
Naroff said he is unsure of what to do next but plans to continue his quest for quiet.
“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do, but we will do something,” he said.
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