North End Restaurant Owners Sue Mayor Michelle Wu Over Outdoor Dining Fee

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Four North End restaurant owners are suing Boston Mayor Michelle Wu over an outdoor dining fee that applies only to restaurants in that neighborhood.

The owners are seeking $1.5 million each in damages, claiming the $7,500 outdoor dining fee is unfair and puts restaurants in the neighborhood at an unfair disadvantage when it comes to outdoor dining. The practice started a month later in the North End than in the rest of the city and ends a month earlier. Restaurants also must pay an additional $458 for each parking space they lose.

In the suit, the owners said they were not included in a meeting with city officials over how outdoor dining would work in the North End and that after the fees were announced, they were barred from meeting with city officials while other restaurants were allowed to. The lawsuit alleges only restaurant owners who favored the fee were allowed to attend.

All four of the owners paid the fees, although they said they found them to be unconstitutional, so that they could compete with other restaurants in the city, according to the lawsuit.

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The mayor's office said it would not comment on the suit because it was pending litigation. Previously, Mayor Wu had defended the fees as necessary to maintain quality of life in the small neighborhood and to make up for lost parking.

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