-----Original Message-----

From: Elizabeth Herrick [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 1:36 PM

To: Town Council



I respectfully request that the Town Council NOT adopt the proposed fire

sprinkler ordinance. This ordinance should not be adopted because:


1. it will impose an unduly harsh economic burden on a locally-owned business that provides a valuable social and economic benefit to our community, potentially forcing it to close; 2. it is so narrow in scope that it appears to be merely a token gesture that will not materially affect fire safety in the community; and 3. any legitimate fire safety concerns could be addressed through other, less onerous measures.


 Hell, the business most threatened by this ordinance, has become a Chapel Hill institution in the 6 1ˇ2 years since it opened in April of 1997. Hell is truly a neighborhood bar in the best sense of the term with a small, tight-knit staff and a diverse and loyal clientele.  The employees and owners of Hell have consistently demonstrated their commitment to running a responsible bar and have a perfect record for compliance with all ALE regulations, ordinances and laws. Hell has been an outstanding corporate citizen and should not be targeted by any ordinance or other proposal designed to crackdown on bars that are creating a nuisance. The closure of Hell would be an irretrievable loss for the character and community of Chapel Hill.


Please do not pass the proposed sprinkler ordinance. I ask that you work together with the affected businesses to come up with a more reasonable solution.




Elizabeth Herrick

100 Rock Haven Rd G201

Carrboro, NC 27510

-----Original Message-----

From: Bruce E Baker [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 3:30 PM

To: Town Council

Subject: proposed sprinkler ordinance


Dear Mayor Foy and Town Council,

          I have just learned about the proposed sprinkler ordinance that is before the Town Council, and I would like to register my strenuous objection.  As I understand, the Council initially considered an ordinance with a broader scope that would have affected many businesses and decided to revise it because of the cost it would impose on those businesses.  Now it will only affect three businesses, one of which is a bar called Hell on the corner of Rosemary and Henderson.  There are a couple reasons why I think this is a bad idea.  First, the practical reason: passing an ordinance that will only affect three businesses in one building does very little to affect the town's fire safety.  If you want to improve fire safety, pass an ordinance that protects all the bars in town.  Second, the sentimental reason.  Hell is a fantastic place and a vital part of the fabric of life in Chapel Hill.  It has won several "best of the Triangle" awards.  It is one of the few places where Chapel Hill residents from all walks of life, university and non-university, meet and mingle.  Speaking as a graduate student in the UNC history department, Hell is the central focus of our department's social life (due to its free pool, pleasant atmosphere, and excellent selection of reasonably priced beer).  I really would hate to think what life would be like in Chapel Hill without the prospect of a cold beer and a game of pool in Hell on a Friday evening.




Bruce E. Baker

Teaching Fellow

Department of History

University of North Carolina



-----Original Message-----

From: Scot Ninnemann [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 3:31 PM

To: Town Council

Cc: [email protected]

Subject: Why we oppose the sprinkler ordinance proposal


Dear Mayor and Council Members,


Please vote against the proposed ordinance requiring that fire sprinklers be installed in certain businesses that sell alcohol.  As written, the ordinance would only apply to three businesses, while allowing hundreds of others to continue operating without sprinklers. 


It will make our city LESS safe -- the cost of retrofitting will force the closure of the three bars affected, making our city's other bars more crowded, while those bars will not be required to install sprinkler systems.


Thanks for your time and consideration,


Scot Ninnemann and Jenifer Parks

1216 Hillview Road, Chapel Hill



-----Original Message-----

From: Greg [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 5:26 PM

To: Town Council

Subject: Patron of Hell opposed to Proposed Sprinkler Ordinance


As a patron of Hell on Rosemary Street, I am opposed to the proposed sprinkler ordinance which unfairly targets this one building.  Hell is a community bar with an excellent safety record.  I understand the city of Chapel Hill's concerns following the Rhode Island club incident, but the situation in Hell can be distinguished from the situation at the RI club.  Hell does not host live music with pyrotechnic displays unlike the club in RI.


The proposed sprinkler ordinance seems to be politically motivated which is inappropriate when it comes to taking safety measures.  The cost of compliance with the proposed sprinkler ordinance will probably drive Hell out of business.  While I do not think the bars located in the space above Hell are worth saving, Hell is one of the few places for locals to gather and not be overwhelmed with loud obnoxious students.

All the other bars are full of drunk fraternity boys and are very unpleasant places to socialize.  If you want to make a real difference in fire safety, then close the fraternity houses which have a deadly history of fires.  Much like the bar in Cheers, Hell is one of the few places in town where everyone knows your name.


As an alternative to the costly sprinkler ordinance, I think an appropriate safety measure would be to require two fire exits in all below ground restaurants and bars as well as requiring quarterly fire inspections and additional fire extinguishers to be present.  Safety ordinances should not be solely targeted against a particular business or location.




Greg DeWitt, Esq.



 there is no evidence that the businesses to be affected by this ordinance have not taken precautions and safety measures to ensure the safety of their patrons.  From my personal experience, exits have been well-marked, and I have seen no obvious fire hazards.  I have even seen employees announce to patrons (over a speaker system) where the fire exits are located as an added precaution to the well-marked exit signs and doors.


These businesses obviously care a great deal about their patrons, and likewise, we, the townspeople, care about these businesses.  There is no reason to impose such a harsh, unfair, and narrowly-focuses ordinance. Please vote AGAINST this ordinance.


Sincerely and with thanks,


Virginia A. Dozier

[email protected]