Hyattsville restaurant seeks permit to add band, DJ -- Gazette.Net







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Hyattsville officials and residents are concerned that a restaurant’s request to add a disc jockey and have live band performances will bring noise and crime to a largely residential area.

Council members are expected to vote April 15 on whether to support a special entertainment permit application for Mi Patio Restaurant in the Queens Chapel Town Center on Queens Chapel Road to the Board of License Commissioners. The permit would allow the owners of the restaurant to use a DJ, have live bands perform twice per month and present special events, such as birthday parties and anniversaries. The owners would not use the facility to rent out to residents, said their attorney, Eugene Pitrof.

The restaurant is near the Hamilton Manor Apartments and single-family homes on Jamestown and Queens Chapel roads. The restaurant is open everyday from about 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., depending on the number of customers that in come in the evening, said co-owner Danny Medina.

Resident Sharon Otay, 50, who lives in the Hamilton Manor Apartments, said she often hears a lot of noise from patrons of the restaurant as they leave and worries it will increase if they get the permit.

“I don’t think it is a good idea,” she said of the granting the permit. “I don’t think they should have it unless they move to a bigger place.”

The owners, Medina and Yanira Merlos, were looking to have a DJ perform Saturdays and Sundays and on occasion to present informal special events, such as birthday parties, Pitrof said. He said the owners also would like to search patrons before they enter in the evenings when the owners feel it is necessary, such as when a major crime occurs in the area and a suspect has not been found. In November, the restaurant was fined $2,500 by the county for searching patrons before they entered, which is only allowed under a special entertainment permit, he said.

“He was just trying to protect his family,” Pitrof said, noting that many of Medina’s family members work at the restaurant.

Sgt. Chris Purvis, spokesman for the Hyattsville Police Department, said the department was opposed to the permit application due a high volume of calls for service it has received in regard to the restaurant. He said the department has responded to 54 calls for service at or near the restaurant from April 24, 2011, to March 4. The majority of the calls, 23, were for noise complaints, eight were calls for fights, seven for disorderly conduct, five for theft complaints, four for assaults, three for property damage and four for intoxicated persons and other complaints. Purvis said some of the complaints could have been for problems in the parking lot outside the restaurant.

“It is all about the quality of life for those who live in the apartments and houses,” Purvis said. “With the permit, Mi Patio is going to get louder.”

Pitrof said the restaurant needed to better manage noise but hoped the city and Board of License Commissioners would give the restaurant a chance to improve. The restaurant’s permit hearing will be May 1, Pitrof said.