Do Not Stop to Smell the Flowers

Saloon faces fines for its petunias—and its smokers.

Flowers aren't the first danger people take notice of when walking into a bar. Usually it's drunken sailors or a possible herpes outbreak originating from free bar nuts. But at Sully's Snowgoose Saloon in Phinney Ridge, STDs are the least of the problems in and around the beer garden, where city officials have cited Sully's for a property violation pertaining to petunias. The purple petunias hang in planters near the outside upper edge of the garden's fence. But they're hanging out a bit too far for the city, which has threatened to fine Sully's $600 if the planters aren't repositioned. According to owner Sully Gaffney, regulators say the planters interfere with pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk outside his saloon. Seattle zoning inspector James Thompson did not respond to multiple requests for comment. "I've never gotten complaints about those flowers," says Sully of the plants, which have been there more than six months. "If they want me to move them, I'll move them, but I don't understand the problem they have with my petunias." The purple bandits aren't the only culprits prowling Sully's lately. One customer in October took the liberty of patrolling the beer garden and plucking cigarettes out of patrons' hands, giving the usual health-nut rant and even citing Seattle's 25-foot law. Sully had the "Smoking Bandit," as he described him, kicked out of the saloon for good. Unfortunately, the anonymous agitator filed a complaint against Sully's regarding the smoking law, and now Sully is being cited by the city for that as well. This one could cost him $370 in fines. Outgoing state Senator Ken Jacobsen (D-46th District), a regular at Sully's, offered the owner a sympathetic ear last Friday night while he was sitting down for a beer. "I felt bad for the guy . . . the law is what is. If someone wants to come in here and press the issue, what can he do about it?" said Jacobsen. Sully is filing an appeal with the city to save his petunias, but doesn't have a plan yet about the smoking situation. "If you ask me, I think they're harassing me," says Sully. "But that's probably just me being really paranoid."

 
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