The Madison Police, prompted by a complaint from former Police Commission Chairman Emile Geisenheimer, have referred the Madison Beach Hotel to the state Liquor Control Commission for selling liquor on the Grassy Strip, the town-owned piece of land adjacent to the hotel, according to a report in the New Haven Register:
Geisenheimer and two other residents complained to police the day after the Aug. 30 concert, and the case went to the department’s top brass, Commander John Rich, with much of the evidence having gone through Chief John Drumm. The case resulted in a police referral to the state’s Liquor Control Commission, alleging a violation of the hotel’s permit to sell liquor, according to a police report. The concerts were on of land owned by the town, but contiguous to the hotel at 94 West Wharf Road and used by them under an agreement with the town that includes no alcohol consumption.
The report in the Register said they obtained a video taken by Geisenheimer of the concert, showing a woman selling beer, through a Freedom of Information request. Read the full report in the New Haven Register.
Claudette Carveth, a spokeswoman for the state Liquor Control Commission said Wednesday the department is investigating the complaint from the police. She said she did not know the specifics of the complaint and did not know how long the investigation might take.
"I can only tell you we have received a complaint from the Madison Police Department as of Monday afternoon and we will investigate," she said.
John Mather, the general manager of Madison Beach Hotel, whose name is listed on the liquor licenses issued by the state, issued this statement:
“We have been informed of a complaint regarding draft beer being served on the property of the Madison Beach Hotel. This occurred during a scheduled free music event hosted by the hotel for our neighbors in the greater Shoreline community. We believe we are fully and strictly compliant with all rules and regulations in the safe, lawful dispensing of food and beverages, and have received no notice of violation from either town leadership or from any state agency. We take great care in providing a safe and secure environment for our guests and neighbors and will continue to do so in a manner consistent with these high standards.”
Madison Zoning Enforcement Officer John DeLaura told Madison Patch on the day after The Fixx concert that he had received several complaints about noise following the hotel concerts from about two or three people, and maybe about a half dozen emails.
DeLaura told Madison Patch that the Zoning Board of Appeals conditions of approval do include restrictions relating to the amplification of music and outdoor events. He said the hotel is also operating the concerts as part of a separate agreement with the town relating to the Grassy Strip, where the concert was held. It is owned by the town, but is being used by the hotel as part of a short term arrangement that will expire at the end of the year, and be reviewed by the Board of Selectmen.
DeLaura told Madison Patch on the day after the concert that he reviewed the information with the town attorney and did not plan to issue a letter of non-compliance to the hotel about the complaints. "This is a complex situation involving the conditions of approval and, now, the temporary agreement about the Grassy Strip that allows them to host concerts and events on that space," DeLaura told Madison Patch. "What we have is ambiguity there."
The New Haven Register article says DeLaura "told police he would issue the hotel an informal notice of violation for exceeding the number of attendees allowed, the police report states. According to the report, Geisenheimer told police on Aug. 31 that there were ongoing noise issues during the Thursday concerts and that the hotel violated its zoning variance for outdoor events because there was additional outside lighting, alcohol consumption and more than 120 attendees."
Madison resident Walter Lippmann has complained repeatedly about violations by Madison Beach Hotel to the Board of Selectmen.
Lippmann has said that the hotel ignores ordinances, parking and zoning requirements, and has committed other violations. At a recent Board of Selectmen meeting he said expressed concern about water flowing from the roof of the hotel over to the town-owned beach across the street.
Following Lippmann's complaints at that meeting earlier this month, hotel officials said town officials called to discuss that matter with them. First Selectman Fillmore McPherson and other town officials have not responded to an email request for information about what action, if any, the town took following Lippmann's complaints about the water.