Today, another battle has been decided in the ongoing war over live music in Mount Pleasant, and both sides are claiming victory.
For the past year, Mount Pleasant restaurants Don Jaime’s, Haydee’s, and Don Juan’s have been working with neighborhood group Hear Mount Pleasant to terminate their voluntary agreements with the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance. The voluntary agreements, or VA’s, restricted hours for live entertainment and prohibited cover charges and dancing. Catch up on some background here.
In yesterday’s ruling, the ABC board amended the MPNA’s voluntary agreements with Don Jaime’s and Haydee’s , but did not terminate them (a ruling on Don Juan’s voluntary agreement is slated for next Wednesday). Under the new agreement, hours for live music have been significantly expanded: The restaurants may host entertainment Sundays through Wednesdays until 11:00 p.m.; Thursdays until midnight; and Fridays and Saturdays until 1:00 a.m. Dancing is now permitted, as are cover charges.
In a press release, Hear Mount Pleasant declared the ruling “a major victory.” In their own release, the MPNA focused on the fact that the ABC board “denied the request to terminate voluntary agreements.”
“I think it’s great,” says MPNA President Laurie Collins. “I think the board made a fair decision and I think they made a decision for all parties involved.”
Hear Mount Pleasant finds the ruling cause for a little bit more celebration: A live-music bash will be held at Haydee’s on Sunday evening. Hear Mount Pleasant Steering Committee member Eugene Stevanus says, “we’re very excited because our goal this year was to bring back music to Mount Pleasant restaurants. We see it as a victory.”
Could this ABC ruling have achieved a truce in the longstanding conflict between Mount Pleasant neighborhood groups?
It seems that, despite the compromise, there are plenty more Mt. P issues left to hash out. Stevanus says that his group remains “disappointed” that the MPNA voluntary agreement wasn’t terminated entirely. “We provided the board with considerable evidence and testimony that the MPNA has not been a trusted player in the VA process in our community,” he says. “There are still some restrictive provisions in place from what we see as a very paternalistic neighborhood group.” One MPNA provision Hear Mount Pleasant still hopes to amend is its “happy hour” restrictions against discounting drinks in the three restaurants. Collins says that, while she’s willing to negotiate MPNA’s agreements with local businesses, the issue is a complicated one.
“What a community group wants for a business and what that business itself wants are not always the same thing,” says Collins. “You listen to the neighborhood, and you hear all the suggestions, but at the end of the day, you’re dealing with the owner and what he wants,” she says. “We have to ask ourselves, are we doing what’s best for Eugene, or are we doing what’s best for the business and the neighborhood?”