GRAFTON, Ohio — A battle over live outdoor music has reached a breaking point in Grafton Township.
A couple of weeks ago, an injunction was filed by the township to ban such shows at the Jailhouse Taverne.
"They're trying to shut us down,” said Brian Wolbers, Jailhouse Tavern’s managing partner.
It comes after trustees’ created a noise ordinance in 2017 because some residents complained about the loud music at the bar. The ordinance banned noise that can be heard at 100 feet and beyond.
Wolbers says the bar and the township came to an agreement after the ordinance went into effect. The bar went from having live concerts five days a week to two days a week. He also says the bands stopped playing by 10:00 p.m. compared to 11:30 p.m. before the ordinance.
He added the bar even got the trustees’ approval to build a stage and to hold live outdoor music events back in 2016.
Wolbers says the township has not tried to work with him on this even after the bar tried their best to make everyone happy, including monitoring noise levels. He says it still wasn't enough.
"We adjusted according to the ordinance…acoustic music, unplugged bands. They didn't want to hear it. All they wanted to do was make sure live music did not happen here,” he said.
The township also rezoned the area where the bar is located, which banned all outdoor live music events, said Wolbers.
We reached out to each Grafton Township trustee, but we were unable to reach them.
"It gets really bad,” said John Cauffield, who lives across the street from the bar.
He says the music gets so loud it drowns the sound from television.
"A lot of times you have to put ear plugs in to go to bed,” he said.
John’s neighbor, Lauralee Hutson lives across the street from him and essentially the same distance from the bar. She is singing a different tune.
“We don’t find it offensive,” Hutson said. “We sometimes sit down and listen to it even when we're in the house…we can enjoy it."
She says some complaints are coming from people who live farther from the bar than she does. Hutson believes the bar is a good thing for the township.
"I'm wondering do they not like music,” Hutson said.
Wolbers says the injunction can hurt his business and the bands who play at Jailhouse Taverne.
He says the ordeal is frustrating and hopes for a fair resolution.
The hearing about the injunction is scheduled for May 22nd.