Clarification: An earlier version of this story stated the Camel's restricted hours are part of a special use permit through the city's noise ordinance. The special use permit is through the city's zoning regulations.
The Camel is balking again. The owner of the popular Broad Street music venue, who once found himself in handcuffs over a dispute with police about parking restrictions, is protesting a special use zoning permit that he says is stifling business.
Rand Burgess says police confronted him last month about the venue playing music beyond its 11 o'clock weeknight hours. Burgess started an online petition asking for the hours to be extended until 2 a.m. every night. So far, it's received 2,000 signatures.
"Our customers are behind us," assistant manager Alison McLean says. "We've gotten a ton of support, not only from our customers but from bands. It's been heartwarming to see how many people care about our establishment."
McLean is counting on the petition to work, but says the Camel will remain open if the permit isn't changed.
"We haven't really thought that far," McLean says. Burgess is traveling outside the country and couldn't be reached for comment.
The petition is directed at City Council President Charles Samuels, who says neighbors upset by late-night music must be taken into account.
"You don't want to hurt a business, but you don't want to chase people out of their homes," Samuels says. "[Burgess] can talk with the neighbors and I hope to be part of that conversation. We'll see if there's a resolution everyone can live with."
The 2012 dispute stemmed from patrons who parked in front of the venue, where it was forbidden from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Samuels worked to end the ban after Burgess was arrested.