The Boston Town Board made the holidays a little brighter Wednesday for the owner of Couzins, the North Boston bar that has had disputes with its neighbors over its noise levels.
The board approved lifting restrictions that had been placed on the bar's live entertainment license that had forced shows to end at 11 p.m..
The issue will come back before the board on Jan. 19, when it will decide whether the restrictions will stay off.
Several board members said they had visited the premises on Boston State Road to check sound levels and found owner Rick Hayden had delivered on promises to keep the volume down.
"The noise was very faint outside the bar and restaurant and outside some of the homes," said Councilman Richard Hawkins. "The noise was not overbearing.
"I think we should at least give him the chance to do what he needs to do."
Contacted after the meeting, neighbor Pat Needell said that she saw no difference at this point.
"The noise is not gone," she said. "They don't live right next to it. As far as I'm concerned it hasn't stopped."
Needell said she wasn't aware Couzins' permit would be on the agenda for the afternoon meeting, which is traditionally used to wrap up year-end finances.
Hayden requested the issue be moved up from the Jan. 5 meeting to Wednesday in hopes of getting the restrictions dropped before New Year's eve, traditionally a big money-maker for bars.
Hayden said before the meeting that he had been losing money since the restrictions were put on his hours for live music, with many people not arriving until 10 or 10:30 p.m. and then leaving when the music stopped not long after.
At the previous Town Board meeting, the town's courtroom was packed with Hayden's customers, employees and band members who play there, and he said he collected over 400 signatures on a petition supporting him.
Hayden said after the meeting that he isn't worried about exceeding allowable noise levels and having the restrictions reinstated.
"I have so much insulation in that building, if nothing else I'm going to have cheaper gas bills," he quipped.
Hayden and his cousin, Bob Randon, took over what had been the Boston Grille -- a decades-old bar with a long history of live bands -- in November of 2003.
The noise issue came up when they filed for the renewal of the business' live entertainment permit last summer.