Ypsilanti Township requests 24-hour coney island shut down early Monday mornings following three years of crime, noise complaints
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
A 24-hour Ypsilanti Township coney island officials say regularly ties up police resources and disturbs neighbors early Monday mornings will soon close during those hours.
Luca's Coney Island at 2469 Washtenaw Ave. will shut down between 1:30 and 4:00 a.m. weekly starting this Monday morning. It’s the third time the restaurant has closed during those hours at the request of township officials.
At a recent meeting, the Board of Trustees authorized township attorney Doug Winters to take legal action against the owner of the coney island if the township’s request wasn’t met.
Over the last three years, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department deputies have been dispatched to the location on more than 150 occasions, and almost exclusively between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Monday.
The calls have sometimes tied up every available unit and required mutual aid from neighboring jurisdictions. Charges stemming from calls include disorderly conduct, property damage, aggravated felonious assault, gambling, retail fraud, vagrancy and more.
Township officials also have received numerous calls from residents in the adjacent neighborhood complaining about loud stereos and noise.
“We get calls from the neighbors south of Washtenaw Avenue in which they are vocally begging us to do something,” said Mike Radzik, director of the office of community standards. “They can’t sleep because of the noise and have to get up and work Monday morning,”
Police officials said the crowds gather at Luca's after local bars close.
Township officials have met with Luca's owner, Frank Gsokas, on three occasions over the last two years, Radzik said. At the first two meetings, Gsokas agreed to close the store early Monday morning and the Sheriff’s Department reported the problems completely ceased.
But Gsokas reopened the store several months after each meeting, and the problems reignited, Radzik said. He said Gsokas was cooperative during the first two meetings, but told township officials at the last meeting that it was the Sheriff’s Department job to protect his store and keep it safe.
Gsokas did not immediately return calls from AnnArbor.com.
After the last meeting with Gsokas, Winters ran a title check to see who owned the property. Officials had believed Gsokas owned it, but the search revealed it was actually owned by a trust in Ann Arbor. Winters contacted the trust, and a representative clarified that Gsokas leased the building.
Winters said the building owner agreed to contact Gsokas to discuss the issue. Gsokas has since decided to close from 1:30 a.m to 4:00 a.m.
Winters said he believes the trust that owns the property didn’t know about the issues and intends to cooperate with the township.
“We have an agreement and I’m very thankful that the property owners stepped up and did the right thing,” he said. “We have put a lot of man hours into (Luca's) and if we don’t see a voluntary turnaround then we will take more drastic action.”
Prior to authorizing the township to take legal action if necessary, Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo underscored that the township’s first goal is always to get compliance from businesses that have issues.
“We do try to work with people and give them an opportunity to do the right thing,” she said. “This will be good news for neighborhood. All hands are on deck (Monday mornings) when the bars close and it’s chaos in there.”