Neighbors want 'outrageous' conduct of Peckers restrained, suit says

Ann Knef Jun. 5, 2008, 11:34am

Residents living close to Peckers tavern in Ashley, Ill. are seeking a temporary restraining order to stop "outrageous" conduct that includes excessive screaming, brawling and public urination sometimes as late as 3 a.m.

Plaintiffs Katherine E. Fender and Ronda A. Thomas filed a complaint for injunctive relief in Washington County Circuit Court June 4 against the bar's owners John and Lisa Pelczynski claiming they are being deprived of peaceful enjoyment of their residences. Among other things, the residents claim the operation of Peckers has resulted in trespass to their real estate.

"The basic concept of the bar and tavern business is to have unique events which draw large crowds so that large quantities of alcohol can be sold, in this case to a younger crowd…," the complaint states. "The marketing techniques of Peckers includes advertising and/or amateur nights with sexual connotations."

Fender, who has resided at 171 N. West Railroad St. for 29 years and Thomas, who has resided at 155 N. West Railroad St. for two years in a neighborhood occupied by residences and churches, claim they have reported the activities of Peckers on numerous occasions since it opened less than a year ago to the Ashley Police Department without remedy or relief.

A sign on the front of the building, which was formerly a small neighborhood lumber yard, says "Bigger is Better," the complaint states.

"In the open air beer garden outside, there is a spray-painted pink representation of a penis and testicles on an outside wall."

Fender and Thomas, represented by Edward J. Blake, Jr. of Blake & Edwards in Belleville, claim they were not given adequate notice or a right to object before Peckers opened its operations.

Their complaints to city officials and police have resulted in "additional harassment and intentional interference with the peaceful use and enjoyment of Plaintiffs' residential real property," the suit claims.

According to the complaint, a conflict of interest exists between the mayor and the Pelczynskis.

"That it is believed that the Mayor of Ashley may have some type of business and/or personal relationship with John Pelczynski and/or Lisa Pelczynski, and/or their businesses," the complaint states.

Fender and Thomas claim the mayor of Ashley "has indicated or given the impression that police intervention and/or patrolling may basically have a chilling effect in regard to the crowds Peckers is drawing to Ashley and the resultant revenues and profits."

They have also filed complaints with the Washington County Sheriff's office, which has brought "numerous charges" directly or indirectly relating to operations at Peckers, the suit claims.

Fender and Thomas claim operations of Peckers is not conducive to the well-being of the general population of Washington County.

"By drawing large crowds of young people, including from outside the Ashley area., and appealing to matters which stimulate them, including in regard to drinking, outrageous behavior, sexual connotation, and basically partying inside and outside Peckers until the early hours of the morning, these patrons who have been drinking and/or may be under the influence of alcohol, and who may not live in the Ashley area, then have to return to their homes or other locations in a physical, emotional and/or mental state, which is not conducive to the safety and the well-being of others," the complaint states.

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