NEWS & OPINION AN URBANIST VIEW
Are you #TeamFoxy?
BY JASON COMBS
CONNECT SAVANNAH | AUG 15-21, 2018
IF THERE is one establishment that is synonymous with Savannah culture and Savannah small business, it is Foxy Loxy Café. This is why it is very upsetting to hear that Foxy Loxy finds itself in trouble with the City in regards to “noise disturbances.” This is due to the arrival of a new neighbor who sees fit to complain to the City about the noise generated by events held in Foxy’s back courtyard — events that end at 10 p.m. at the latest, and have been going on for over six years. Now, these events are threatened, as is the overall health of the business. Some have sought to bolster the case of the complainant by pointing out that they are actually a long-time Savannah resident that has just recently decided to move into this property that they have owned and rented out for many years. This in my view makes it worse, not better. This means that this person potentially knew full and well what kind of activities occur at Foxy Loxy, moved in anyway, and is now seeking to change things more to their liking, to the detriment of an established and cherished local business. In nuisance law that pre-dates the adoption of zoning codes throughout America, there is a concept known as “moving to the nuisance.” Basically, if you know that an activity is ongoing at a location, or that a certain condition exists, you cannot move there and then demand injunctive relief from the government. Your case would be thrown out. One of the most important justifications for the rise of planning and zoning was to reduce conflicts and the use of nuisance law and injunctions as a reactive remedy, and the subsequent jeopardy of property takings. If you keep incompatible uses apart, conflict is avoided, or so the theory goes. But you also make boring, single-use neighborhoods. Mixed-use is more fun, more vibrant, and increasingly an agent of economic development. Ryan Madsen, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at SCAD, had this to say: “Part of the social contract of living in such a place is co-existing with diversity, activity, business, and busy-ness, and yes, 8 noise and occasional annoyances and
Foxy Loxy has become a Starland area staple, with frequent live music in the courtyard.