Spring Park will fine-tune its permit for the popular lakeside spot to keep sound levels in check.
Sound engineers will set up noise meters in a couple of months on the outdoor decks of Lord Fletcher's, a well-known restaurant on Lake Minnetonka.
The decibel readings will help determine how loud the late afternoon and evening outdoor music can be this summer, and are part of conditions imposed recently by the city of Spring Park.
The restaurant has been entertaining diners with live music for a generation and receives a music concert permit each year from the city.
This year's permit will set maximum decibel levels for the first time.
Spring Park Administrator Dan Tolsma said the city received a few complaints about noise last year from those who live near the lakeside restaurant.
"The general objective of the council has been to get the music down to a level where it can still be enjoyed by various people at Lord Fletcher's," Tolsma said, "but we also don't want it to be that much of a detriment to any of the neighboring properties."
Musicians play outdoors four times a week, on Thursdays and Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The season begins May 24 and continues to Sept. 3.
The restaurant's huge outdoor dining area is the size of a football field and seats about 800, with 75 boat slips available for guests who arrive by water.
Lord Fletcher's general manager Tom Emer said he will cooperate with the decibel limits.
Only a couple of neighbors complain occasionally about the sound, he said, and most others enjoy it.
Thursdays and Fridays feature acoustic music, he said, and Saturdays and Sundays offer bands. The restaurant features all varieties of music, from country to reggae to Top 40, Emer said.
"The music goes straight out into the lake, so it's a long distance from here to another house across the lake," he said.
A sound company will measure decibel levels during Memorial Day weekend and use them as a guide to establish what maximum levels will be allowed at the sound board and at nearby residences.
"There will be decibel limits in place at specified locations on the restaurant site and on its property line," Tolsma said. "These types of situations usually require a little bit of give and take on both sides, so we're working with both the neighboring residents and the restaurant to come up with a better solution."
Emer said the restaurant also will hire one company to do the sound mix for the bands on Saturdays and Sundays, instead of having each band control its own system. That should help keep the sound at a more consistent level, he said.
Even with the changes, Emer said, there may still be a few neighbors who will object to the music, but he said that Lake Minnetonka is no wilderness.
"In the middle of summer there are boats everywhere, and it's not a quiet, up-north lake," Emer said. "That's just a fact."
Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388