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Many mid-size American cities have been restoring their downtown areas back to life. For years, retail establishments have been relocating to malls and other shopping areas away from downtown locales.

Buildings sat empty until cities began turning them into condominiums and apartments reviving these areas. But what happens when your new apartment on the 4th floor is neighbors with a thriving restaurant? Sometimes, it can become a nightmare.

Such is the case for some New Yorkers who are tired of breathing smoke from a restaurant called, Metta, which is famous for its grilled meats and veggies. The restaurant vents its cooking on their third floor, which sends the smoke straight into the fourth floor apartments.

Virginia Priest, who owns the four-story apartment building says, “We’re asking that the smokestack be raised above all our roofs. So, of course, the smoke is going into all of our backyards.”

Priest says the smoke causes her fire alarms to go off if she raises her windows, and she’s even lost tenants because of the smell. She describes it as an acrid mix of burning wood and meat that can be nauseating.

But what to do? Locals have been attempting to work with the restaurant’s owners, but describe them as “arrogant and dismissive.”

So far, 18 air quality complaints have been logged with the local environmental agency since the restaurant opened just last year. An inspection in May by the local Department of Environmental Protection found that Metta had indeed violated air quality requirements.

The case is scheduled to go before an Environmental Control Board judge in July. The group of neighbors and their attorneys are hoping to make the judge aware of the severity and duration of the problem.

What would you do if you lived near a restaurant who was blowing smoke your way and disrupting your everyday life?

If you need legal advice, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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