The future of the Bel Rio restaurant and bar in Belmont is up in the air.
The bar at the center of the most recent noise complaints in Charlottesville's Belmont neighborhood may not be a problem any longer. Bel Rio no longer has a liquor license and the landlord is looking for a new tenant.
The future of Belmont's controversial Bel Rio restaurant is up in the air. Bel Rio's liquor license has been voluntarily surrendered; an Alcoholic Beverage Control agent removed the license from the building Thursday. The restaurant has been in the middle of a noise battle with its neighbors. Belmont homeowners say the late night noise and rowdy crowds are a major concern.
"The complaints seem to be more serious and a little harsher," said landlord Jeff Easter. "My lease is very clear that it is a jazz or similar music only."
Easter says the owner, Jim Baldi, has left town. Friday, a sign on the door said that Bel Rio is closed for two weeks for vacation and renovations.
"I know that's not happening so I don't know what the real story is on that," said Easter.
Charlottesville City Hall is just as confused. Council was set to take up Belmont noise issues again on Monday; they were going to lower the decibel limit in the area yet another time.
"This was a restaurant; this was a venue that was trying to push the limits and caused a lot of contention in the neighborhood," said Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris.
The landlord says Bel Rio's lease is up on 2013. The owner has said he would be willing to give up the space, a potential solution to a problem that has been in the works for more than a year. The landlord says he has several people interested in the site, but the next lease will be tougher to curb any noise issues.
Messages to Bel Rio's owner have not been returned.