The Peabody City Council – at least two courageous members – told the owner of the Stonewood Tavern last night that he just had to follow the rules. Sal Palumbo had originally planned to go before the council to “amend” his entertainment license to allow him to play host to bands at a nightclub he built as an addition to his successful restaurant on Lynnfield Street.
Problem was, he was looking to expand an entertainment license for a nightclub that he erected without city council approval. The city council back in July of 2011 approved a special permit for a 95-seat restaurant, which since opening had been a welcomed addition to the neighborhood.
But suddenly, several months ago, Mr. Palumbo added on a nightclub and began rocking the foundations of South Peabody with 8-piece bands. Last night, after understanding that his attempt to amend his entertainment license was going to fail, Palumbo requested that his petition be withdrawn without prejudice. The council agreed 9-0 to allow him to withdraw his petition, but not before Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz, and Councilor At-Large Anne Manning-Martin gave him a little rock performance of their own.
“You went wild over there. Wild,” Manning-Martin said while addressing Palumbo, and … she was just only warming up. “You’re a businessman doing business in Peabody, who in the near future needs to be kept on a short leash.”
Manning-Martin went on to say that she would like to ask the licensing board whether Stonewood had also violated it’s liquor license by opening the nightclub. “You should be fined,” she added.
Sinewitz was a little kinder, yet still made sure to let Palumbo know that his end-run around the process and the city council won’t be tolerated. “What I wonder is whether he’s going to have bands there this Friday and Saturday night,” asked Sinewitz, who later made a motion for an emergency preamble for Mayor Ted Bettencourt to sign, which requests that the police department visit the Stonewood this weekend to ensure that no live bands will be performing.
While Manning-Martin and Sinewitz handed out what seemed like the perfect response in this situation. other councilors leaned more toward sending Mr. Palumbo for a timeout in chair in his dining room. Ward 1 Councilor Barry Osborne, who really owns some of the responsibility here for not letting Palumbo know that he needed to bring his nightclub plans before the city council, sounded at times like he wanted to give the Stonewood owner a hug while telling him to please be good from now on.
Most of the other council members were totally silent.
Great work by Manning-Martin and Sinewitz.
As Sinewitz put it perfectly: “This isn’t a witch hunt. It’s about following the rules.”