By Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The pop-up beer garden at the center of a nasty battle between its owner and Philadelphia officials reopened Saturday afternoon.
Pop-up beer gardens have been popping up throughout Philly this summer, but the developer of the Point Breeze Pop-Up Beer Garden has been fighting the city to keep his open.
“There is too much red tape,” says developer John Longacre. “There is too much bureaucratic nonsense. There are too many circumstances like this that keep people from coming in.”
Longacre is upset with the city after he was forced to shut down the beer garden twice in two weeks. The empty lot, he says, had been an eyesore for 30 years and was filled with trash. He spent $60-thousand to clean it up.
“There were Magnum 357 shell casings,” Longacre says, “drug bags, syringes, a colostomy bag, trash everywhere.”
Pop-up beer gardens need a state issued liquor license – something Longacre obtained. But six weeks after being open, Longacre says, without warning, L&I shut it down citing zoning issues.
The developer says he applied for the permits, but was still not allowed to open.
“(L&I) has been the most dysfunctional department that we’ve had to deal with maybe ever,” he says, “and I’ve been working in a professional capacity with that department since 1997.”
Both sides have been going back and forth in court. Longacre doesn’t understand what the issue is with this beer garden.
“I don’t know if it’s political,” he says. “I have no idea. I don’t know if there is someone in Point Breeze that is causing them to do this.”
Neighbors seem to like the pop-up beer garden, saying it brings life to the neighborhood.
For its part, L&I wouldn’t comment, sighting pending litigation.