Pawling, New York apparently isn’t making Daryl Hall’s dreams come true these days.
The Hall and Oates singer is locked in a legal battle with the town of Pawling over the capacity of his restaurant and live music venue Daryl’s House, according to court papers obtained by TheWrap.
In a lawsuit filed in late March, 13th Step LLC, Daryl’s House claims that the town of Pawling has significantly and arbitrarily reduced the capacity for the venue, “in what was a blatant and underhanded attempt to thwart” the approval process for an outdoor concert program that Daryl’s House had been working on.
According to the suit, filed in New York Supreme Court, Daryl’s House leased the property in 2013, and was issued a certificate of occupancy for 175 seated persons or 318 standees.
The lawsuit, which calls Daryl’s House “a tremendous asset to the community” that “has enhanced commerce to the surrounding area businesses,” says that plans were put in place to launch outdoor concerts in the backyard of the venue in 2015. The concept was “initially well-received” by the town and a building permit was granted, the lawsuit says, and a 180-day temporary certificate of occupancy to host the outdoor concerts was granted in August 2016.
After that, the lawsuit contends, things went downhill: After Daryl’s House spent more than $3.2 million based on the town’s approvals, the town sought to “substantially reduce” the venue’s occupancy load from 318 standees to 198, it claims, adding that the town also put a moratorium on the outdoor concerts.
The suit also says that the venue parking capacity was made an issue, but despite good-faith efforts to contract for more parking, further obstacles were thrown in the way.
“In October 2014, Daryl Hall opened Daryl’s House with the occupancy of 318. They are trying to reduce it to almost half without having a hearing and without any due process. When a town wants to do a change, they have to give you notice of it, allow you to have a hearing on it and allow you to opportunity to remedy if if you agree. In this case, the town did not do any of these things,” Hall’s attorney, William Sayegh, told TheWrap.
Sayegh went on to accuse the town of “an underhanded intimidation tactic.”
“One evening, they sent the code enforcement officer and fire marshall together and they went in the middle of a concert and started counting heads. If that is not an underhanded intimidation tactic, what is?” Sayegh told TheWrap. “They counted the kitchen staff, the band and themselves when they did the count.”
Sayegh added that the town has also brought up safety issues, though the attorney says that Daryl’s House is “safer than the town hall itself.”
“The town, because we filed this lawsuit, is taking the full position that it’s all about safety. Let me talk to you about safety for a moment. Daryl’s house is the only one that has a full sprinkler system, he spent $300,000 on it and he has seven fire exits, security on the floor and a parking attendant in the lot. He’s not even required to do this,” Sayegh told TheWrap. “He does it voluntarily. The town hall, itself, doesn’t have a sprinkler system or emergency exits. The town hall itself doesn’t meet the qualifications they are enforcing on Daryl Hall’s house.”
“It’s about safety of the community? Daryl does more for safety than the town does. So they are not one to preach,” Sayegh added.
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