By Carla Zanoni
The CB12 economic development committee voted in favor of a resolution supporting the wine and beer application for Ouva Wine Bar and Beer Garden, located at 4957 Broadway, so long as the owners agree not to play music outdoors and hire an acoustics expert to design a space that minimizes noise.
The Ouva vote followed a spirited debate between 17 speakers about noise issues from the proposed establishment and Garden Café, an establishment owned by the same restaurateur that is located two storefronts north on Broadway.
Residents who live behind both establishments at 101 Cooper St. voiced concern that their already noisy courtyard would only be made worse when the new garden space opens.
"The outdoor bar is not appropriate for what is essentially a residential area," said Phil Simpson, who began a petition that received 59 votes online and 58 in print calling on the community board to impose noise restrictions as a condition of approval for the new business.
Ouva owner Gus Anton, whose family has run Inwood restaurants since 1967, said he was receptive to the community needs and intends "to do anything to minimize sound."
Anton had mounted his own petition in support of the new restaurant under the guise of saving "live music in Inwood" and gathered 268 signatures online and more than 400 in print.
Some neighbors voiced frustration that the petition pitted artists against residents trying to get a good night’s sleep.
"We're asking you to respect your neighbors, not censor arts in the neighborhood," said one resident from 1010 Cooper St., who said her child’s bedroom window is fewer than 30 feet from where the beer garden will be open until Midnight Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Despite the sometimes-contentious debate – one waiter from Garden Café said midway during the discussion he was glad to have an open dialogue "instead of slanderous Twitter feeds and false petitions" – the night seemed to reach a more conciliatory tone by its end with residents and Anton discussing how to work together.
"I am ready to do whatever it takes to keep you from calling 911," Anton said, smiling.
The next step for the Ouva application is for the full CB12 board to vote on the resolution on April 26.
Then the SLA will make the final decision, as community boards serves in an advisory role.