2018-11-08 / Around Town

Town Denies Amusement License to Rocco's and Mia’s

By Christopher Allen

With no representatives for the owners of Rocco's and Mia's Little Italy appearing for the second straight meeting, the Middletown Town Council unanimously denied an application for an Amusement License for the restaurant located at 59 Aquidneck Avenue.

“I have no desire to approve this unless they decide to show up and answer the questions that we have,” council Vice-President Paul Rodrigues said, noting that he had received word that there had been no response from anyone affiliated with Rocco's and Mia's to a prior request from the town.

Council President Robert Sylvia agreed. “I think that’s a prudent move. Nor do I [wish to approve],” he said. “They've had ample opportunity to show up on this. And we have a concern down there.”

Co-owner of the new venture, Rocco Jweinat, formerly operated Rocco's Little Italy on Broadway, among other projects. The restaurant opened in June, occupying the former KJ’s Restaurant and Pub. The amusement license must be acquired annually through approval by the council.

The application was first presented to the council on Oct. 15. At the time, Rodrigues requested further discussion after an abutter to the property, Rosemary Nunes, raised objections. Rodrigues said that while he was not opposed to allowing some type of musical accompaniment, he wanted to make sure it was not to the detriment of the surrounding residents.

“My concern is with the bordering neighborhood,” he said on Oct. 15. “I’m not sure I’m in favor of full-fledged bands.”

Attorney Robert Silva, representing Nunes, told the council that his client wished to have more detail on what would be allowed. “We just wanted to make sure we knew what is being proposed,” he said.

An application submitted to the Town Clerk’s office on Sept. 25 labeled the entertainment as “acoustic music.”

Sylvia, the council president, noted on Oct. 15 that there were no representatives present to advocate for the granting of the new license and tabled the application with a motion to continue. He then requested that the Town Clerk’s office reach out to the owners.

When the owners were once again not represented on Nov. 5, the council swiftly voted down the petition.

Sylvia closed the discussion but left open the possibility of approval should an application be resubmitted.

“If they want to at a later date, we’ll see what happens,” he said.

In other matters:

. The council approved an ordinance to the town code allowing the creation of the Atlantic Beach Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.

. The council approved an ordinance to the town code banning smoking within 50 feet of any entrance and exit doorways of all municipal buildings.

. The council approved the application of Island Twins, LLC, 58 Aquidneck Avenue, 52 East Main Road, for a Victualling House License for the 2018-19 licensing year.

. The council approved the application of Brian Daniel Gray, Cranston, for a Body Works Personnel License to be used at Anli Spa, 238 East Main Road, for the 2018-19 licensing year.

. The council approved the application of Cuifang Liang, Newport, for a Body Works Personnel License to be used at Anli Spa, 238 East Main Road, for the 2018-19 licensing year.

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