Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Restaurants Fight Attrition Warfare?

Reports from Midtown neighborhood leaders about today's scheduled court hearing with the Bound'ry and South Street Crab Shack on two recent noise citations suggest that the owners may be trying to wear down their opposition by forcing them to mobilize for cases that don't end up being held. I was told that Bound'ry/South Street citations were paid last Friday, a fact that was not announced until after Midtown leaders had waited at least an hour for their case to be heard. As a result the leaders and their lawyers were made to sit and wait in a crowded court room (with DUIs and other offenders having cases in the same place), burning an hour of their own time.

What's a Metro noise citation cost? $25? $50? Probably nothing compared to the time that neighbors put in to being available to testify and compared to the lawyers' fees involved. Now the Bound'ry and South Street will likely turn up the decibels again betting that future citations will not move as many people to act. It's a similar issue to the neighborhoods vs. developers issue. Developers have more time and resources to game the system than neighborhoods do. Business can commit petty infractions that don't cost them nearly as much as they do their neighbors in lost sleep and lost time in a court room. And aren't lawyers' tricks fun?

UPDATE: Check out this morsel of hypocrisy on the Bound'ry website:
The courtyard patio faces a quiet neighborhood street for fun dining during the spring, summer and fall.
Yeah, quiet until the Bound'ry's speakers get turned up real loud. Owner Jay Pennington seems to make his money off the benefits of being on a quiet neighborhood street without returning the favor to the neighborhood.

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