Saturday, March 30, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hillbilly Heaven operating without city licences

Hillbilly Heaven — the controversial southern barbecue joint that proudly displays the Confederate flag — is operating illegally.

The city confirmed Wednesday that neither the Upper James nor the downtown locations has an up-to-date business licence.

Hillbilly owner Cameron Bailey — who plans to run for city council in 2014 — says he hasn’t licensed his Upper James location since its opening two-and-a-half years ago because of a $2,000 rezoning fee. Bailey has also refused to pay the $250 “zoning verification fee” for his new downtown location.

“My argument is this: in a city where we’re trying to employ people, why is the city being so difficult over small amounts of money?” he said. “If it comes right down to it, I will fire two of my staff so I can give the city their $2,000.”

Bailey says that since his Upper James building was zoned only for takeout, not eat-in dining, he was required to spend $8,000 on architectural drawings to submit to the city. Although the drawings are finished, he still refuses to pay an additional $2,000 to change the building’s zoning to allow eat-in tables.

“To have a small-business owner draw a picture of what amounts to five or six tables is just ridiculous,” he said. “Everybody has to pay the fees, only because they go along like sheep.” (Source: Hamilton Spectator)