Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Shhh... Johns Creek City Council Reportedly Votes Popular Venue Out of Business

A popular Johns Creek restaurant and music venue has reportedly been forced to close due to a series of seemingly discriminatory city council rulings.  37 Main occupied a nearly 17,000 square foot space in Medlock Bridge Shopping Center on Medlock Bridge Parkway.   The restaurant took to their Facebook page to describe their situation and the issues that led to their closure.

 "Attention 37 Main friends:  

It is with a heavy heart that we have to inform you that 37 Main Johns Creek has closed its doors. 

The city council ruled last night to change the noise ordinance to an unrealistic measure (or lack of measurement should I say). Once again, in the new ordinance, the term plainly audible takes precedence over the use of an actual decibel meter.  

The city of Johns creek would lead you to believe that this is purely a case of 37 Main being bad neighbors and we rattle the windows with our "rock n roll" on a nightly basis. The reality of the situation is this, two Johns Creek police officers testified under oath that they could not hear the music from the property line. Even with that testimony, we still received 3 years criminal probation, huge fines, and an unrealistic time that we were forced to end bands (11pm). You may also find it interesting that the police officers were denied access inside of the residents homes 100% of the time. Those same police officers testified that they were ordered by the police chief to write a citation if they received a call "yes just a call" from one of the Medlock Bridge residents. Those "ordered to write" citations are the same ones that put us on criminal probation by the city of Johns Creek for 3 years. It's very disturbing to know that you can receive that type of punishment all while not breaking a single law and even getting acquitted by two police officers under oath. After that, we soon realized that the Johns Creek city council is able to make 1+1 =3 if they so choose.  

If one further dives into the possible corruption of this case, it's very interesting to note that golf courses are excused from the new noise ordinance, despite numerous complaints by residents. It leads me to ask why should one set of neighbors complaints be more important than another's? And why should one business be treated different than the next? This entire time all we asked for was an ordinance that they could hold everyone to, not just to single 37 Main out. We soon realized that it was not about the volume / sound, but it was about the neighbors not wanting our business to be in front of their neighborhood. They felt we "lowered their property value" because we were a restaurant | bar | venue in front of their neighborhood. So it became clear that the city was not going to fight fair with this situation.  

For the past 3 months, the city made it hard for us to operate our business. Having to end bands at 11pm is just not a business model that we've worked 8+ years to create. It's tremendously hard for a business like 37 Main to survive being forced to end their night so early. Unfortunately, we are not Chastain, Verizon, or any of the other outdoor venues that have curfews instilled. Unlike these venues, we do not charge as much for our tickets. The city cut our possibility of selling food and drinks by 6 hours every weekend (with the 11pm curfew) and 35 hours every week (with the 9pm curfew) Their 9pm and 11pm curfews caused our business to drop 25% over night. Then, this past Monday night, the Johns Creek city council passed an ordinance that finally caused the doors to shut. The ordinance prevented us from having any bands because it states that sound cannot be plainly audible during any point of the day (of course that does not to apply to their amphitheater).  

This entire process has been Johns Creek flexing their muscle. Mayor Mike Bodker had the nerve to call several of our 37 main supporters to threaten them legally over comments made on Facebook. This is just a small example of the strong arming that the city of Johns Creek is capable of doing. A true leader does not use intimidation to get his way, a true leader unites people and promotes input from their citizens. If there is any doubt we were trying to be neighborly, please remember that we offered to construct a wall behind 37 Main (even though we could not hear music at their property line). Seems like a great idea right... Well city council members denied this because they felt it would be an eye sore. I say an eye sore pales in comparison to a family business loosing their entire investment because we chose to open a clean, fun, live music establishment in a corrupt city that changes the rules mid game. An eye sore pales in comparison to making the many many families that we employee lose their job and the ability to put food on the table. Above all though, an eye sore should pale in comparison to making right and standing by your decision. In 2013 the city welcomed us with open arms, demanded us to pay for special permits, gave us the ok for our business model, and then decided they no longer wanted a live music establishment in their sleepy city. We were always taught to stand behind your decisions, so it feels like a local government would understand the importance of this as well... especially in a time where there is so much distrust among politicians.

We absolutely hate to close, but our hand has been forced. We cannot have the growth of 37 Main be put to a stop by the biased city council members of Johns Creek! 

So, on behalf of everyone at 37 Main, we appreciate all of the support during the entire process. We are so blessed to have a strong 37 Main family like you guys! I thank each of you so much for being a part of it. 

WE WILL REBUILD... Check back for more information on when and where!!!  

In the meanwhile VISIT US AT our 37 Main BUFORD location!!!  

ROCK ON, 
The White Brothers!"

Are you a fan of 37 Main Johns Creek?  Are you a business owner in Johns Creek who has experienced similar or questionable treatment by the Johns Creek city council? Do you think the city council was justified in their treatment of 37 Main?  Where would you like to see 37 Main reopen?

Please share your thoughts below.   

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is very sad for us indeed. We enjoyed many shows at this wonderful venue, and the food was also very good! Hopefully you can find a location in the peachtree corners area, and we are looking forward to your relocation announcement.

Coolio said...

If true, it's despicable. Amazing in 2016 that this kind of thing can happen, but then again, if residents and the public sit by and just watch, thinking that it's not their business so it's not their problem, that's the foundation that creates rampant discrimination that manifests itself in many different -- often undesirable -- ways.

Leesa Gillen said...

I would like to see you open just across the border line of Johns Creek - facing Johns Creek. I live in Johns Creek and loved having you in our neighborhood!

AJ said...

Sounds like they need a lawyer - not even a good lawyer - just a lawyer. Those ordinances (if as described by the owner of 37 Main) is not permissible. Not sure how Johns Creek city attorney OK'ed the language!

Anonymous said...

Five years frim now.... "why can't we get any new restaurants to open in Johns Creek?"

Anonymous said...

Discrimination? Other issues or skeletons in the closet with the business owners? Social media can be a double edge sword enlisting loyal patrons with uncivilized rhetoric. There will be another outrage tomorrow if Pokemon Go doesn't distract.

Anonymous said...

These stupid cities like Johns Creek form only so they can create their own police force and implement a Police State. They don't provide any real services that you expect from a real city, like planning or public works, or contract out most of those services to the private sector. Cities like this only exist because they promise POLICE. They'll keep you safe from all the horrible crime in Johns Creek. What a joke.

Ham said...

Sorry for the business owners and the patrons, but wonder if there might be another side to the story. It sounds like this place may be located near a residential area and that just possibly the residents are complaining about the business.

Maybe it’s too loud or maybe it’s not I suppose that depends on if you’re trying to get you four year old to sleep and the music is distracting. What about when the late night patrons leave do they yell and scream as they burn rubber out of the parking lot. No, well most of the time no, but yes occasionally someone acts up.

I guess my point is that bars and residential neighborhoods don’t belong together particularly in a suburban area. Maybe Johns creek made a mistake by approving this business in the first place. Again, I do suspect there are two sides to this story and wish we knew more details.

Anonymous said...

Most of the patrons are probably not Johns Creek residents. The noise ordinance may be just a good starting point to other collateral issues. Commenters that throw around phrases like - lawyer up, police state, and discrimination are not helping these club owners. The powers that be, and even everyday taxpaying citizens have tuned the daily noise OUT and are no longer listening to you. Keep up the good fight though, its free entertainment for 95% of US.

Anonymous said...

Blah Johns Creek. Expect a Chilis or Applebees soon.

Anonymous said...

@Ham - Bingo. I would like to hear the other side of the story.

And I wholeheartedly disagree that new municipalities are bad and only established for police presence. The quality of life in both Dunwoody and Sandy Springs have increased exponentially since cityhood.

Anonymous said...

There are two sides, and if you believe the 37Main "we are the victims here" spin you've missed more than half. Over 100 911 calls in two years, recently found guilty on 6 of 7 charges for disturbing the peace, owners with a ZERO cost fix that refuse to use it. Owners that want people to believe they have a license or permit for the sound production. Ever look at a business license? Ever seen one that states "you have the unlimited license to disturb the peace?" Nope, didn't think so. A license to do business isn't a license to force your neighbors to the point calling the police is the ONLY option. These guys planted here for the demographics, read that as the wallet size of JC, not because they wanted to be good corporate citizens of a thriving place. Bottom line, they closed up on Sunday night and snuck away BEFORE the vote on Monday. Some better class place will see the same wallet size and find a way to open.

Unknown said...

I hate to see this happen. They really should have hired a lobbyist specializing in local ordinances. Looking at Google map, the club is indeed surrounded by residential homes. But I find it curious that there is a golf course just across the street from the club. Probably the one that sought out the exemption.

Anonymous said...

What a disgrace. People who worry about property values are the ones with super high mortgages and no money in the bank. Losers
who spend all their time worrying about other peoples lawns.
I gave up the burbs after one too many discussions about the color
of homes or number of weeds in the lawn. Get a life and for those who know to enjoy life, move intown and discover intelligent conversation during Happy Hour. Yes Happy Hour. It is allowed ITP.
Best of luck to this former establishment.

Anonymous said...

Try reading the ordinance? It doesn't say they can't play as loud as they want. It essentially sez keep it in your building. They guys just didn't want to spend their profits!

JavaGrammy said...

Outrageous. We can vote with our dollars and do no business in John's Creek. This makes it easy to know what to choose with all the wonderful options around. And how is that even legal for the mayor to call people's homes and threaten? Oh wait, it's not. If that part is true it doesn't even matter about any other side of the story. Our sympathies out to the employees whose lives were just turned upside down.

Anonymous said...

People who worry about property values are the ones with super high mortgages and no money in the bank. Losers

^^ Oh, please! You probably don't have a pot to pi$$ in. The place you went to go get $hit faced drunk every night shut down. Low lives like you will find another whole to crawl into.

vespajet said...

Johns Creek has been nailing a number of different businesses in recent months. They've been giving the Kroger on Holcomb Bridge & Barnwell (That shopping center is barely within the city limits, as there's only a about a 1200 foot section of Holcomb Bridge that is in the City of Johns Creek.) hell in recent months. They're trying to force them into a delivery curfew (11PM-7AM), which the store manager as well as Kroger corporate are not happy with. They've forced them to remove most of the items they had displayed on the sidewalk out in front of the store as well. Johns Creek could be losing that Kroger if the previously rumored plans for the one a few miles down Holcomb Bridge come to pass.

Anonymous said...

Why do people jump on a bandwagon and support ONE SIDE when they have no clue of the ENTIRE TRUE STORY? I would never allow my good name to be attached, to support anyone on social media or on a public forum. From what I understand, these business owners are being dishonest (to put it politely) with there PR campaign against John's Creek. The JC city council should sit back in silence and let these owners destroy their reputation. Our society makes absolute fools of themselves on social media that can always be dug up to haunt you.

Anonymous said...

Do you live in Johns Creek? I do... And it is becoming increasingly evident of how it is run. From obnoxious billboards to chasing good, profitable businesses away because they don't want to play the city's game. This city council will flood your mailbox with slick, expensive flyers every day at election time and then turn a shoulder after election. Political corruption starts at home, kids! Remember that next election cycle... Tell them to spend the money on their flyers on the city so they don't need bright obnoxious billboards and ridiculous fees and fines on business owners to generate revenue...

Anonymous said...

I live in Johns Creek.

Commenter at 8:41 AM can take it's conspiracy theories, paranoia and tinfoil hat and MOVE.

Sidewon said...

This is just horrible! It should not be so difficult for a family to start and operate a small business. Although Johns Creek is a bedroom community, there are people there that want a little entertainment. And for god sake, that intersection is a commercial area. What's the big deal?

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 8:41am:

You realize that no city prints up campaign flyers, right? That is paid for through campaign donations to the candidates.

Anonymous said...

Wow, some of you people really either can't, or won't read - or don't have open enough minds to think something thru on your own accords. 37 Main had options, like soundproofing the building, which many of us even offered to pay for! They also had their landlord willing to front the costs at one time, but he figured out he couldn't trust them. They ALWAYS had the option to simply lower the volume - lots of us left there rubbing our ears! So all those basic options and they decided to close shop and bolt? If they were right, why didn't they stay and fight? If they were right, why run in the night? Even if they were closing shop, didn't they owe us, their fans one last big kick-ass party? Says a lot about them.

I understand the Mayor courted them to come to JC. I understand the Mayor was a patron and loved seeing shows there. I understand he even tried to broker an agreement and brought the landlord to the table. Certainly not the Mayor's fault the landlord didn't trust his own tenants! But you folks don't read, and if you do you don't comprehend. You bring the billboard mess up and blame the Mayor; again, read some people! Fulton County screwed that pooch BEFORE Johns Creek EXISTED! the Mayor just did all he could to make the best of a bad situation. Watch last week's council meeting on-line, he explains EVERY little bit of what happened. But you won't read, you won't watch. You'll just believe and repeat Joe White's lies and spin.

BTW, his club in Buford isn't a very far drive, go worship him there. Might check what some acts have said about his treatment of them, or check some of ex-employees about the way they were treated. But you won't.
Open and inquisitive minds are signs of intelligence. Closed and set minds? The opposite.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of open spaces around Gwinnett Place and probably cheaper rent. Might not be within city limits, so less government to worry about.

Edward Holcroft said...

Wow anonymous ... whose axe are you grinding?

Anonymous said...

Edward Holcroft Anonymous Grinding Axes?

Anonymous said...

Good. These businesses that claim to be so community oriented could give a damn for the quality of life for anyone in range of their noise pollution. Verizon has been an unrelenting noise problem since they opened with no relief because Alpharetta allows them to. Our windows literally rattle at times because of their volume. 37 should not expect anyone in a residential area to put up with their noise and I applaud JC for having the balls to address it and finding a way to put it to an end.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it but there are lots of small businesses taking advantage of consumers in the name of portraying they are large in community involvement and high in ethics and the fact is they are posers using the claim of community focus and claim of good business practices just to increase their customer base and skirt around law and regulation - this exists in all business segments from house cleaning to movers to retail and neighborhood bars and entertainment. There are few real good ones out there. I am glad these folks got tossed on their rears because they lied and cheated the community, their customers, and their employees.