Point Breeze’s Pop-Up Beer Garden Is Baaaack
“It was the busiest weekend we’ve ever had,” said John Longacre, proprietor of the pop-up.
Philadelphia’s Licenses & Inspections department issued a cease-and-desist order for the beer garden on Wednesday, stating that the property was not zoned to be used for that purpose. Then a representative for Longacre attempted to appeal the cease-and-desist order, and a lot of confusing stuff happened, as we reported previously:
Here’s what [Longacre] says happened … An L&I employee told Team Longacre that the proprietor has to file a zoning application in order to appeal the cease-and-desist order. Longacre’s rep said he did — a week ago. Then the L&I employee checked the department’s computer system and said, yup, he’s right, and that zoning application should have actually prevented Longacre from receiving the cease-and-desist order in the first place. Therefore, the employee allegedly said, Longacre cannot file an appeal because he never should have gotten the cease-and-desist order in the first place.
Stephen Murphy, Longacre’s attorney, said he had simultaneously filed an emergency motion in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas contesting the cease-and-desist order.
Then there was a hearing on Friday, and Muphy said he argued that the city had not given Longacre due process, in part because of his team’s clusterfuck experience at L&I. Judge Nina Wright Padilla agreed that the city had violated due process, according to Murphy and L&I’s Beth Grossman, and ordered for the cease-and-desist order to be vacated (see below).
So what’s next? The city’s law department said it has not yet decided whether it will appeal the judge’s decision. As it stands, Padilla’s order will last until the zoning use permit submitted by Longacre is disposed. Murphy said the city rejected Longacre’s permit on Friday, and he now has 30 days to appeal it to the Zoning Board of Adjustments. The ZBA can take as long as six weeks to schedule a hearing, according to Murphy.
Longacre is planning for the pop-up’s final day of operation to be September 7th. So by the time the ZBA hearing rolls around, it all might be moot anyway.
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