Trojan Tavern owner says loitering is being curbed

Published 11:01 pm Thursday, July 26, 2018

Trojan Tavern owner Von Ewing said he has been doing his part to be a good business neighbor downtown after complaints at a council meeting earlier this month about loitering and noise at the bar.

Allan Wood, owner of the new event venue Kendall Hall downtown, addressed the council at their July 11 meeting about his concerns especially about people loitering outside the business.

Ewing said he has always done his best to be a good neighbor downtown, but has worked since the concerns were voiced to curb loitering and ensure the noise does not rise above what is allowed.

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“I’ve been working with the police, sometimes calling them about 15 or 20 minutes before we close if we have a large crowd when there’s going to be a lot of people leaving at the same time,” Ewing said.

Ewing said the majority of the loitering problems come at the time when the bar closes at 2 a.m. and people linger as they make their way out of the establishment.

He said he also has decided not to host live entertainment at the outdoor Tiki bar to limit any noise concerns.

Sherry Helms, owner of Home Gallery across the street, said the Trojan Tavern is a good business neighbor, but that she had noticed a loitering problem in the past.

“Our business is not open when the Tavern is open but if I work late, then I can hear all the commotion outside,” Helms said.

Ziad Rollins, owner of Flo’s next door to the bar, said the business is a great neighbor.

“It brings in revenue for the city and community,” Rollins said. “Also, the Tavern brings in such a diverse crowd that there is a night for everyone to come in and enjoy a drink. It’s a place for the whole community.”

Rollins said there needs to be a strong bond between downtown businesses to present a unified front.

“It makes us all look bad in downtown if the businesses can’t get along and it will deter people from investing in businesses,” Rollins said. “We should discuss things business to business.”

Wood said at the council meeting that he does not want to shut down the tavern and is not seeking an adversarial relationship with Ewing.

“No one wants to see Von be anything but happy, healthy and successful,” Wood said. “We just want to use some common sense to resolve the issues … Respect, kindness and understanding for neighbors in general, our fellow man. This, as with most misunderstandings and problems, can be solved by working together.”

The portion of the city’s noise ordinance that applies to businesses is found in Sec. 14-7-b2 of the code of ordinances:

“It is hereby declared a nuisance and shall be unlawful to operate or play any radio, television, phonograph, musical instrument, or similar device which produces or reproduces sound, whether from a business or a residence, in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of fifty (50) feet to any person in a commercial, residential, multi-family dwelling, or public place.”

A violation of the ordinance is punishable by a fine of up to $200.