The birds may be back.
Two colorful macaws and an African gray bird that have lived
for more than a decade in the outdoor courtyard at Duval
Square, just outside New York Pasta Garden restaurant, may
be able to return.
Restaurant and bird
owner Lea Fettis received a letter on July 9 from the
condominium board that governs Duval Square, a mix of
first-floor retail shops and restaurants with vacation
rentals on the second floor. The letter told Fettis that the
birds violated his lease and had to be removed, “even though
we took over the lease in an as-is condition, with the birds
present,” Fettis said.
“We started taking the birds home at night rather than
leaving them in the courtyard in case they were too loud at
night. But that wasn’t good enough. I also offered to pay
additional rent for use of the common area.”
The condo board’s ousting of the birds prompted a public
outcry against the condo board and in favor of the birds,
and led Fettis to meet with his attorney, Michael Halpern,
to evaluate his options and consider litigation against the
condo board and association.
“These condo boards, all over town and
all over the country, are holding people ransom with their
bully tactics and overreach,” Fettis told the Keys Weekly in
late July. “Life is hard enough during this pandemic and the
state of affairs in the world without having to worry about
losing your business or your home for frivolous reasons.”
Halpern met with one
of the board members the week of Aug. 9 and received
somewhat positive news.
“She told (Halpern) we may be able to bring the birds back,
but with some stipulations,” Fettis said. He then received a
text message from the condo board president on Aug. 13.
“He said the board had agreed to let the birds return with
stipulations,” Fettis said. “We are sure the stipulations
will be governed with much scrutiny and that their goal is
to have us default, but it is a step in the right direction.
Mike Halpern met with a couple of the board members, and
they seem to want to avoid litigation with me for right now,
especially with all the public support the birds have
received since the article ran in the Keys Weekly.”
Condo board exiles restaurant’s resident birds