Glenmont restaurateur goes to trial

Zoning violators in Bethlehem may want to take notice: Code infractions may end up costing you hundreds of dollars or more, or even worse land you in jail.

Alteri's restaurant owner Harvey Quinn said he has been singled out along busy Route 9W in Glenmont for having a lunch buffet banner outside of his business. He is now scheduled for a jury trial on May 14 and may be facing up to a year-and-a-half in jail for his violation of the town's zoning code.

The town said Quinn was given several opportunities to clear up the matter and that he was the one who requested the jury trial. Officials said banners are illegal in town without a variance, and Quinn was cited for being in violation, adding that he was never arrested and is not being targeted.

Bethlehem police confirm that Quinn was not arrested and that he was cited for violating town code by Bethlehem chief building inspector Gil Boucher.

Quinn, however, said he is convinced Boucher is unfairly attacking him and pointed to numerous other illegal banners throughout town that go unchecked. He claims local and independent businesses are put to a different standard than the national chains popping up along 9W.

I want to represent myself, but [town officials] don't want that. They sent me to a public defender," Quinn said.

"The public defender said he thought it was one of the top five stupidest cases he's ever heard of. He said he only handles criminal matters."

However, according to the town attorney, James Potter, who cited section 128 of the town code, violations can carry a sentence involving jail time for repeat offenses. Quinn is being cited for zoning offenses for every day he kept the banner up, and subsequent offenses can carry increasingly stiffer penalties.

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