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Burlington Bar Faces Two-Week Permit Suspension Over Noise

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Published December 9, 2022 at 12:50 p.m.


Orlando's Bar & Lounge - COURTNEY LAMDIN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Courtney Lamdin ©️ Seven Days
  • Orlando's Bar & Lounge
The Burlington City Council is recommending a two-week suspension of the entertainment permit at Orlando's Bar & Lounge after a preliminary report found the venue created an "unreasonable increase in noise" for neighbors.

The downtown bar, on Lawson Lane, would lose its permit from April 15 to 30. The decision isn't final unless councilors approve it on Monday.

Orlando's owner Brandon Mossman didn't immediately return a request for comment.

Brandon Mossman (left), and Holli Bushnell - FILE: COURTNEY LAMDIN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File: Courtney Lamdin ©️ Seven Days
  • Brandon Mossman (left), and Holli Bushnell
The finding comes about a month after councilors held a hearing about loud music on Orlando's outdoor patio. A neighbor testified that bands routinely exceed the bar's permitted hours, which are 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.

The neighbor, Holli Bushnell, also complained about noise at Orlando's in the summer of 2020, resulting in the city curtailing the bar's permit.

At the hearing last month, Mossman acknowledged that bands sometimes unintentionally go over the time limits. He said the bigger issue is that other downtown businesses are allowed to play music later than his, and claimed the city was discriminating against Orlando's. More than 40 musicians submitted a joint letter in support of Mossman.

Bars in Burlington are required to obtain an entertainment permit to host live music events. Councilors, acting as the License Committee, can impose certain conditions on the permits and can revoke or suspend them if bars violate the rules.
The council concluded that Orlando's exceeded its permitted hours at least twice in the fall, by Mossman's own admission. The noise also forced an unnamed, long-standing business to "adjust its operations," the draft decision says, and caused "at least three residents [to suffer] physical and/or mental health affects."

The council acknowledged the pandemic's toll on the performing arts scene — a concern Mossman and others raised in Orlando's defense — but said that interest "must be balanced with the health of residents in the vicinity and continued viable use of the adjacent space."

The document also indicates that the council could consider extending the hours of Orlando's permit, noting that "abiding by present permit conditions [would be] a show of good faith."