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!!!
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.