A battle to keep live music ringing through the air from cafe Finding Fillmore's has been won, but the war with Kiama Council is yet to be over due to continued complaints.
Owner Morgan Lewis has been allowed to continue operating with live music and comedy gigs at the Manning Street venue indefinitely, as the council seeks further advice over their live music policies.
"The people win," said Mr Lewis. "[A petition with] 2500 signatures has demonstrated this is what the community wants."
In March, a Development Control Order was slapped on Mr Lewis, claiming his cafe operations had breached conditions of consent regarding noise and traded out of the permitted hours. But after discussions between the two parties, the order was postponed until the end of April.
The business owner said the council had "over-complicated" the matter and should "refocus" to define what he believes the true problem - the laws surrounding live music in cafes.
He believes his venue is being unfairly treated due to him gaining consent to trade as a cafe through a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) by a private certifier, instead of going down the road of a Development Application through the council.
"We are very much looking forward to Kiama Council getting up to speed and supporting live music all year round, just as the ... legislation was designed to do," Mr Lewis said.
A spokesman for the council said they remain a strong supporter of the arts in all forms and were working to "find a solution", with the lodgement of a full development application the preferred option.
"We have provided a legal scope to our lawyers, the operators of Fillmore's and residents concerned about the noise and other impacts," he said.
"We are also providing Fillmore's with advice regarding costs and requirements for lodging a development application, which remains our preferred option.
"A site visit to better understand the challenges and possible solutions has been arranged as well."
Kiama Council has received at least 42 complaints against Fillmore's between May 2021 to Feb 2023.
On Monday, the council's Director Planning, Environment and Communities Jessica Rippon said they were "continuing" to receive complaints about patron behaviour, noise and amenity impacts from the Fillmore's operations.
"While we're dealing with the legal advice, we're also working with neighbours, the operators and police licensing about these complaints," Ms Rippon said.
"We need to clarify the legal situation before taking the next step."
Mr Lewis said regardless of the outcome he wasn't prepared to back down and pull the plug on any gigs.
In May alone the cafe is welcoming comedian Paul McDermott and renowned magician Liam Power to the stage, as well as a concerts by Mac Tango.
At the same time Finding Fillmore's began operation, the new Harbourside Kiama luxury apartment complex was being completed next door at number 44 Manning Street. However, Mr Lewis previously told the Mercury the majority of neighbours were "regulars" and greatly supported the cafe.
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