Residents crowded into a Planning Commission meeting Wednesday because of an application from 105 Restaurant & Lounge, 105 Colony St. The business owners disputed the concerns, saying the bar invests in security and is one of the only business promoting night life downtown.
“It’s a ghost town down there, I don’t know how we’re bothering anybody,” Vicky Medeiros, wife of owner Manuel Medeiros, said during the meeting. “I understand we might have rubbed a couple people the wrong way. That was not our intent. If there are concerns we want to work with the community to fix this.”
The restaurant’s provisional liquor permit expired in August, said City Planner Bob Seale, adding it is unclear if the business has been open since on a limited basis serving just food.
The special permit application from owner Manuel Medeiros would allow the business, currently considered a restaurant in the city’s Transit-Oriented Development zone, to be reclassified as a bar. The reclassification would allow the city to sign off on a liquor permit application with the state, Seale said.
“What we need to do is determine whether the activities under what is proposed for this bar meets what goes along with our master plan for the TOD,” Seale told the commission Wednesday.
A decision on the application was ultimately postponed because Medeiros needs additional paperwork and the signature of the building’s owner. According to city records, the building is owned by 105 Colony St LLC. Isaac Shweky of Cheshire is the principal of the LLC.
During the meeting Wednesday, several residents voiced concerns about incidents at the restaurant, including the March shooting of 29-year-old man inside the bar. Vincequan Wright, 28, of 300 Britannia St., was charged with first-degree assault in connection to the incident.
Shortly after the shooting, Medeiros voluntarily suspended his provisional liquor permit. The restaurant then filed a new permit application with the state liquor commission.
Pastor Bruce Miller of First Congregational Church, which is down the street, expressed safety concerns and said music can be heard blaring out the windows of the bar late at night.
“You get to assess the performance of the people’s previous efforts. In my belief there’s no reason to believe that anything is going to be handled differently or more successfully this time,” Miller said. “This will not be a positive force there and therefore it should be turned down.”
Holly Wills, president of the Meriden Council of Neighborhoods, said the organization has “grave concerns” regarding the business, stating it will have a negative impact on the quality of life for those in the neighborhood, which is also home to a daycare and the Meriden Boys & Girls Club.
“There has been a pattern of multiple incidences of inappropriate activity at this restaurant and the Meriden Police Department has responded to multiple calls to the restaurant... including a shooting inside the establishment,” she said. “Due to these past occurrences our concerns are that the pattern of criminal activity will start up once again if the establishment is designated as a bar and allowed to serve alcohol.”
Manuel Medeiros said allegations that criminal activity occurred at the bar are false and the shooting was out of his control, noting the business hired six bouncers for security purposes.