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Northside residents are raising concerns over recent activities happening in and around the Executive Cigar store in Historic Deutschtown.
While Executive Cigars has been in business for three years on Suismon Street, in August of last year late-night parties on the second floor of the building began creating disturbances that have neighbors and the East Allegheny Community Council concerned.
Two late-night shootings nearby the shop have added an additional concern for public safety to neighbors’ complaints of noise disturbances and parking problems.
Residents and EACC members support Executive Cigars and want businesses to thrive in the neighborhood, but do not support the parties late at night.
“Just like most people in the neighborhood, we want new businesses to come here and thrive,” said Deutschtown Resident Rachel Booth who lives on Thropp Street with her husband and 5-year-old son. “But when the physical safety of my family is threatened, I have a problem with that.”
EACC President Cynthia Shea echoed that sentiment and said, “We aren’t against the Executive Cigar Club at all, just against the afterhours club.”
Due to zoning issues, the late-night activities have ceased and alcohol is currently not allowed on the premise. According to Executive Cigar owner Andrew Lee, there will be no more late night parties.
Lee said that he was renting the second floor of the shop to a young man who was hosting the parties, but has since terminated the lease.
“I didn’t like it any more than anyone else,” said Lee about the shootings in the neighborhood and expressed remorse about the problems the tenant caused in the neighborhood.
“It will never happen again, I take blame for that,” said Lee.
However Lee said he believed there was a “mob mentality” against his shop in the neighborhood, and that many people were assuming the worst about him and his business.
“The only people who have a right to complain were the neighbors who were directly affected,” he said.
Lee recently applied for a permit to allow alcohol on the premise so that members of his cigar club and parties who host events at the cigar shop can bring alcoholic beverages into the shop and extend his store hours until 2 a.m.
The zoning hearing for Executive Cigars is at 10 a.m. on April 19.