LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen are hoping for a peaceful resolution to an ugly dispute between a local business and its residential neighbor.
The Selectmen have fielded complaints from Stephen Ciepiela regarding Matt Reilly's. Ciepiela lives next door and says the restaurant is blaring music until late at night. He says he can hear it clearly inside his home at 11 p.m. with the windows closed.
"The music is ridiculous. You literally have to close every window in my house and crank the TV," Ciepiela told the Board of Selectmen in October.
Helen Reilly, however, says the music ends at 8 p.m. and the deck is closed by 9 p.m. She believes Ciepiela is frustrated with other issues and is now complaining about seemingly everything.
"He complains about the exhaust fan that has to be on. He comes over screaming. I've had people get up and leave because he turns his chainsaw on and leaves it running." Reilly told the Selectmen on Monday.
Ciepiela brought the concern the Selectmen back in June, saying the patrons at the establishment were talking loudly, staying late at night on the deck, and littering onto his property in addition to the loud music.
In October, his main concern was with the music, saying the restaurant was violating its entertainment license by having entertainment as late as 11 p.m. and into the fall — the permit is just for the summer and until 10 p.m.
"I'm ready to take it to court. There is no way I am listening to Matt Reilly's music drown out everything I do in my yard. I'm not going to sit there and crank the radio to drown out Matt Reilly's," Ciepiela said.
The Selectmen brought Reilly in to hear her story on Monday. She said there had only been music a few times this summer and it had been all acoustic guitar. She believes Ciepiela had first become upset because she had asked him to move his vehicles to allow for a grease pit to be emptied.
Access to Ciepiela's property cuts through Matt Reilly's parking lot.
Ciepiela says Reilly complains about fires he has on his property. Reilly said she was not the one who called the Fire Department on him but feels he is blaming her.
The dispute has become tense. Reilly said her staff members are yelled at by Ciepiela. She's at a point where she is about to block off access to his driveway.
"I'm going to be forced to put a wall up and they won't have an entrance to their house without cutting those trees down. I don't want to do it but there is no other solution," Reilly said.
Since the issue was brought to the Board of Selectmen, the board did attempt to find some compromise. But, as Sayers said, "we don't want to get in the middle of it."
The Selectmen scaled back the entertainment permit from 10 p.m. until 9:30 and clearly restricted it to the end of September. Reilly also said she didn't plan to do much with music moving forward because of the cost.
The hope is that it will be enough to bring some peace. Otherwise, the dispute could end up being determined by a judge and Ciepiela building a new driveway to circumvent Reilly's wall.
"If you don't do something about it, I'm going to go get a lawyer," Ciepiela told the Selectmen.
In other business, Town Manager Paul Sieloff said he is again looking at options to reconstruct Summer Street. The town has been struggling with figuring out what it wants to do for a repair to the road.
Sieloff has returned to the project and has a meeting set up with the state Department of Transportation to discuss options. Sieloff raised particular concern with the sidewalks and suggested a project focusing only on those, with the road being repaired in the future.
Chairman John Goerlach said, "I would consider bringing on another guy for a summer season that would help with a project like that."
Goerlach said hiring an additional seasonal worker could allow the town to do all of the work in-house in one season. Sayers, however, worried about the cost of bringing somebody on — specifically citing the loss of revenue the town will eventually be seeing with the closure of Sears at the Berkshire Mall.
Sieloff also mentioned cutting the project into chunks so not all of the work is on one bill. The town had taken that tactic with Bailey Road, repaving that by sections over a number of years.
The town manager hopes to have a plan soon as to how to handle the lengthy road. Accompanying that process, Sieloff said he is also looking to drop the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph on it. He said Prospect Street's speed limit is less and "if anything, you'd want Summer Street to be lower" because it has the school on it.
He is also planning on moving the signage restricting commercial traffic closer to Route 7. He said the sign is currently a little too far up and many trucks are sent over Summer Street. The hope is that the sign will deter them.
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