The reopening of the Imperial Hotel is set for further delays as the controversy over patron numbers on the planned smoking deck heads to the Land and Environment Court.
The City of Sydney approved the deck for 11 patrons, far short of the 52 requested by owner Shadd Danesi and recommended by the acoustic report.
Lord Mayor Clover has responded saying Danesi could request an amendment, but the City is legally bound to allow local residents the opportunity to respond.
Negotiations between Danesi and the City of Sydney failed, as it could not tell him what number of patrons it would find acceptable if he were to lodge an amendment.
I offered to lower the numbers to 40, but all I wanted from the town planning department was to give me an assurance they’d support it, Danesi said.
He now fears the City has a hidden agenda after a letter from City CEO Monica Barone suggested the deck would become an illegal drinking area.
A further basis for limiting the number of people is to ensure that the area is used as an ancillary smoking area and not a beer garden, Barone wrote.
Danesi said the Barone was penalising him without any offence having been committed.
One of the conditions of the current approval is that patrons cannot take alcohol onto the deck. I agreed to that, but I will be seeking to have that overturned in the Land and Environment Court, he said.

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