The suit, filed last week in New York State Supreme Court in Dutchess County, says the town began to put up procedural roadblocks and reneged on previously issued approvals as it tried to establish a backyard concert series.
Darryl's House is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction against Pawling's attempts to block the venue from getting approval for a backyard concert series.
William Sayegh, who is representing Daryl's House, said the town's "illegal post-certificate of occupancy reduction" illegally enforced how many patrons can enter the restaurant. The town cited fire safety and newly raised parking concerns, Sayegh said.
"Daryl’s House has been operating for years in full compliance with previously issued town approvals," Sayegh said in a statement.
Kenneth Stenger, the attorney representing the Town of Pawling, said none of the allegations by Darryl's House are true. Pawling is simply enforcing maximum occupancy levels established by the State of New York, Stenger said.
"This location is very special to everyone who lives in Dutchess County," Stenger said. "That's all the more reason it should be operating within the accepted levels of safety."
Occupancy levels are set at 175 people if everyone is sitting and 318 people if everyone is standing for a concert.
"These numbers are established by the State of New York and I believe Daryl's House knows these numbers," Stenger said. "Those are the numbers the Town of Pawling wants to enforce. They don't want to enforce a lower number.
Stenger said he is offended by the accusation of harassment.
"Everyone I know enjoys that venue and respects that venue," Stenger said. "Isn't safety what we all want? Don't we all want a safe environment?"
Last Saturday, a town employee counted 75 cars in a parking lot zoned for 55 cars. The building inspector served notice to Daryl's House about the violation.
"This is an easy fix for everyone to resolve," Stenger said. "Lay out a plan and come to the town with that plan. Instead of engaging in that conversation, Daryl's House sued the town."
A hearing has been set for April 21.
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