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Cops and Courts

Jailhouse Taverne, Grafton Township agree to concert schedule

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    Attorney Matthew Yourkvitch, representing The Jailhouse Taverne, speaks to Judge Chris Cook on Wednesday morning during a hearing to foster a compromise between Jailhouse Taverne and Grafton Township for Jailhouse's summertime concerts.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Attorney Tom Mangan, representing Grafton Township, speaks to Judge Chris Cook during a hearing that helped foster a compromise between Jailhouse Taverne and Grafton Township about Jailhouse's summer concerts.

    KRISTIN BAUER/ CHRONICLE

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    Judge Chris Cook speaks to Attorney Matthew Yourkvich, representing Jailhouse Tavern, on Wednesday morning, May 22 during a hearing that helped to foster a compromise between Jailhouse Taverne and Grafton Township for Jailhouse's summertime concerts.

    KRISTIN BAUER/ CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Grafton Township trustees and The Jailhouse Taverne reached an agreement Wednesday on the tavern’s outdoor summer concert series.

The two sides appeared in court for a hearing Wednesday after the trustees filed for a permanent injunction to stop the outdoor concerts The Jailhouse had scheduled for the summer. When the two sides left, they had reached an agreement that will allow The Jailhouse to hold a limited number of concerts.

According to the agreement, The Jailhouse Taverne can have an outdoor performance one night a week, either on Friday or Saturday night. The Friday events can run 6 to 9 p.m., while Saturday events can be 6 to 10 p.m.

The maximum number events The Jailhouse will host from Memorial Day to Labor Day is 20, with 15 taking place on Fridays and five taking place on Saturdays. The Jailhouse Taverne will give the township 30 days’ notice before performances this year, and starting next year, it will provide the entire summer schedule to the trustees in advance.

Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Chris Cook said he felt the resolution was a “very reasonable middle ground.” He also said it wasn’t a perfect resolution, but “in most resolutions nobody gets everything they want.”

Both sides seemed to agree.

“I’m glad we worked together to get the resolution done, and it wasn’t one side or one party,” Jailhouse managing partner Brian Wolbers said. “It was both parties that did it, and I’m looking forward to working with them in the future.”

Wolbers said all of the concerts will be acoustic, which should cut down on the noise complaints.

Township Trustee Carl Wesemeyer said both sides won and lost something in the agreement.

“I’m happy that we’ve finally come to an agreement,” Wesemeyer said. “That’s what we needed. That’s obviously what Judge Cook insisted on.”

The resolution is expected to put an end to the battle between the two sides that has gone on for two years.

Jailhouse and the township went back and forth in 2017 after the bar and restaurant began holding outdoor music concerts on its property. Residents in the township complained to township officials about the noise levels coming from the performances.

The trustees eventually passed a noise resolution that banned any noise or sound that is “plainly audible at a distance of 100 feet or more from the property from which the noise emanates.” Soon after, an employee at The Jailhouse Taverne, John Taylor, was issued a citation for “excessive noise” by the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office.

In March, the case was thrown out of Elyria Municipal Court because the court ruled Taylor was not one of the three individuals who might be liable under the noise resolution. The resolution said the people liable were any person making the noise, the landowner and the lawful occupant.

An earlier attempt to reach a resolution dissolved when township trustees said The Jailhouse violated the terms.

Prior to the two sides coming to an agreement, Cook expressed frustration that the issues had gone so far that it had come before him. He stated that several communities in the county hold outdoor concerts in the summer, including Vermilion, Lorain, Elyria, Oberlin and others.

“I’m just shocked that the township of Grafton isn’t able, along with this organization, to put concerts together that everybody can enjoy, that are good for the business, productive for the community and yet not so loud, obtrusive, annoying or obnoxious that the township residents are put out to an extent that is unrealistic,” Cook said. “Everybody else in the county seems to be able to do it.”

In the resolution, both sides also agreed to drop all pending legal action against each other.

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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