Barroom Brawling in Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh City Council has put a cap on the number of alcohol-serving establishments on the city's South Side, but property owners are crying foul.
May 21, 2009, 12pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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"The ordinance creates a special class of businesses -- the alcohol-serving restaurant -- that should only be carved out by the state, said Charles Caputo. Municipalities "can't make a distinction between a restaurant that sells liquor, and a restaurant that doesn't," he said.

BaBa D's challenge to council's decision has been consolidated by Common Pleas Judge Joseph James with another court case, filed in December, by businessman James M. Quinn.

Mr. Quinn wanted to turn two buildings at the corner of Carson and 11th Street into a bar, but city administrators would not take his permit applications because they arrived two weeks after the ordinance was introduced. New zoning rules take effect temporarily as soon as they are introduced. The ordinance "is nothing more than an effort to control liquor," which is the state's job, said attorney John E. Quinn, who represents his brother in the case.

Restaurateurs argue that the entertainment scene makes South Side attractive to the young people the city wants to retain, and has helped build the tax base. "If the South Side doesn't have these businesses here, South Side isn't worth a penny," said Mr. Aboud."

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Published on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 in Pittsburg Post-Gazette
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