Lawsuit: East Greenwich noise ordinance singles out waterfront restaurant

West Bay
East Greenwich residents respond to proposed waterfront noise ordinance

EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — A popular waterfront restaurant in East Greenwich has filed a federal lawsuit against the town over a recent amendment to its noise ordinance.

BLU on the Water claims it’s singled out by the ordinance since the restaurant doubles as a live music venue. The lawsuit aims to invalidate the amendment, arguing that it is unconstitutional.

Read in full: BLU on the Water sues East Greenwich »

The East Greenwich Town Council unanimously approved the amendment last October, which lowered the maximum decibel levels to which businesses must adhere.

The change was prompted by nearby residents who complained about the large crowds and loud music coming from the waterfront restaurants and bars.

Prior to approving the amendment, a sound engineer conducted a study of noise in the area and said there were several factors contributing to the noise level, such as cars, people and the nearby train.

In the lawsuit, the restaurant argues that under the new amendment, it would violate the ordinance on a daily basis, putting its licenses at constant risk.

“It gives the town council free rein to terminate BLU’s license based on an undefined standard and has knowingly created a situation where BLU cannot operate its lawful business and not violate the disparately applied standards,” the lawsuit reads.

East Greenwich Town Manager Andrew Nota said they’re disappointed, “that the owners of BLU have opted to select the path of litigation rather than implementing any number of sound mitigation improvements to their facility that may have provided the necessary relief and compromise needed to provide for a broader community enjoyment and balancing of interests of our very active waterfront.”

He believes the town has been transparent in its review of the issue at hand. The town is also confident the amendments will “withstand legal scrutiny.”

“We look forward to continuing this conversation and in defending the ordinance in court,” he said.

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