Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Spitting Bullets

. . . would accurately describe the way my friends in Ardmore Park are feeling about the situation I described earlier in their neighborhood.

One correction I need to make to that earlier post, though: the Board of Adjustment didn't "shut down" the Cheap Seats restaurant; it simply directed the restaurant to function as a restaurant and stop functioning as a nightclub. That information comes from Bill Ruska, the city's chief zoning enforcement officer.

With that noted, here is a flyer I received from Laura Jackson, who is Ardmore Park's Community Crime Watch president:

Is a Southwest neighborhood Greensboro’s stepchild?

Look at the News & Record Section B today (10/25/05) pages B1 and B5 and answer this question: Is a Southwest neighborhood Greensboro’s stepchild?

My neighbors and I awoke on a clear, brisk autumn morning with the prospect of a beautiful day. The day quickly turned black as we read and were infuriated by the article “City board orders nightclub closed”. Given the following facts would the City (all departments, boards and City Council) please justify with valid, believable reasons why one neighborhood should be less worthy of positive remedial action than another would? Why should one neighborhood fight with ferocity for 5 years and receive only temporary help and another suffer a much briefer time and receive quick permanent relief?

1. Restaurant changed to a nightclub.
2. Late night crowds flood the neighborhood with cars.
3. Neighborhood is trashed by patrons.
4. Patrons relieve themselves in yards of homes.
5. Neighbors kept awake by noise until 2 or 3 a.m. weekend nights.
6. Establishment closer to residences than the prescribed 200 feet.
7. Establishment charges a cover charge.
8. Establishment clears furniture to create a dance floor.
9. Operator claims this is a restaurant and these are special events.
10. Operator unwilling to operate as licensed and permitted.

1. Northwest vs. southwest location.
2. Northwest property rented vs. southwest location owned by operator.
3. Man shot on northwest property vs. in southwest shootings were in the surrounding area and not on property.
4. Northwest establishment charged and penalized for overcrowding vs. the southwest establishment has not been caught in overcrowding despite ample reports from outside witnesses and testimony of patrons no longer willing to jeopardize themselves by going back to the establishment.

The answer should never be that it takes violence on property to warrant permanent action. The answer should never be that reports of overcrowding are only valid when reported by a patron inside the establishment. The answer should not be related to the location. he answer should not be related to how the property is owned. The answer should not be based upon the composition of the group of patrons. The answer should not be based on the type of entertainment offered.

Fact, the southwest establishment’s brick fence adjoins residential property that is less than 50 feet from the building itself. Therefore, the answer is the law/ordinance that has been violated should be uniformly enforced.

We remain five years and waiting in the southwest. Our patience is long exhausted. As of today’s news, we demand equal enforcement of laws and ordinances in this quadrant. We now expect comparable results much sooner rather than any later.

That's Ardmore Park's story, or at least Laura Jackson's version of it.

However, I also know that Bill Ruska, the man in charge of zoning enforcement, is a dedicated, honest, and meticulous public servant, who will no doubt have more to say about this situation.

For my part, I really hope that he will say, "I'm going to send a Notice of Violation to that club in Ardmore Park, and the neighbors there should and will get equal treatment under the law."

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