North End Restaurant Owners Sue Boston Over Outdoor Dining Policy

After a weekslong debate over Boston's outdoor dining policy, a group of North End restaurant owners has filed a lawsuit.

Some business owners in the area announced in March they intended to take legal action against the city after Mayor Michelle Wu implemented hefty fees exclusive to the neighborhood. That legal action began Monday, attorney Richard Chambers Jr. said.

"It's violations of the Constitution, and all we're asking for is that my clients be treated equally, fairly, the same as the other restaurant owners and taxpayers in the City of Boston," Chambers said.

Under Wu's policy, North End restaurants have to pay a $7,500 fee to participate in this year's outdoor dining program. In addition, restaurants will be charged $458 a month for each parking spot used in their outdoor dining areas.

While outdoor dining in the North End started up recently, some restaurant owners want that money back. Many have repeated calls for the mayor to reconsider.

"I've done a couple of walk-throughs through the neighborhood, and I know our city teams have, as well," Wu said Monday when asked about the lawsuit. "Things look good out there. The one-way portion of the street and the blocking off for specific loading zones and lots of visibility from city staff."

The mayor has argued that the fee helps compensate for people living in the neighborhood, who face further parking issues, more foot traffic and trash.

"I'd like to know who the neighbors are, maybe the mayor would be nice enough to share that with us, because it seems like that's just a fiction at this point," Chambers argued Monday.

Chambers said he's hoping the lawsuit can be settled and that the city will be open to a conversation.

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