News

Diamond Lounge draws complaints

By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

The Diamond Lounge became a hot topic at the Aug. 14 meeting of the Bonney Lake City Council, and not for the drinks or dancing it offers.

The lounge, at 18701 Sumner-Buckley Hwy., is across from the Locust Avenue and Sumner-Buckley intersection.

At the council meeting, three neighbors whose property borders the popular nightclub spoke during the citizen comment period, seeking city relief from the club's late-night noise.

Melanie Castrilli shares a property line with the lounge and said she bought her “dream house, which has turned into a nightmare.”

Castrilla described nights where people are “screaming profanities, throwing food and used sex items over the fence into my yard. We don't know what to do.... I've called 911 almost every single night.”

Jody Lappier, whose property also abuts the nightclub, said she has found “condoms and a couple having sex in my backyard.”

Lappier said one night when the music was particularly loud she went to the bar and asked the employees to turn the music down because her 1-year-old son, Ashton, couldn't sleep.

“They told me to call the police and the DJ (disc jockey) came over and said not to turn the music down and he called security on me. The police met me at my house and shut them down at 12:30 (a.m.),” Lappier said. “I've lived in Bonney Lake since I was 3 and now I can't sleep in my house.”

Lappier said she sold her house “and I lost $25,000 because I had to disclose the commercial noise.”

Steve Crossley, owner of the Diamond Lounge, said he realizes there is a problem with his neighbors, but he has not been able to come up with a solution.

“We are a nightclub and if we are asked by the cops to turn it (the music) down, we do it in a heartbeat,” Crossley said. “But we are the most popular night spot in the area right now and we're growing. We run a clean ship. We have more bouncers than regular employees. We offer free taxi rides and we are careful to not serve people who are underage.

“We are trying to find a solution,” he said, “but according to the code we have the right to make noise.”

Crossley said his understanding of the code is there is an exclusion to the noise ordinance if a business has to make noise to survive.

The problem, he said, is his business sets next to residential property.

Crossley said he has considered relocating, “but it's difficult because we own the property. We've spent money trying to fix the sound issue, but we haven't found a solution.”

The Diamond Lounge has one citation listed on the state's Liquor Control Board site. In June the club was fined $350 for disorderly, lewd and other conduct.

Police Chief Mike Mitchell said his department has received 49 complaints since February concerning the lounge, with eight arrests made and 10 reports written.

Mitchell said the city's noise ordinance has been rewritten and any violation is now a criminal offense.

City Attorney Jim Dionne said the city should be able to prosecute the lounge as a nuisance.

“I don't know why we haven't done it sooner,” Dionne said.

The city's municipal court on Thursday tossed out the most recent noise complaints filed against Diamond Lounge because the wrong code was cited.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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