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Frustrated Candler Park neighbors complain of Fox Bros., parking, and lack of city response

'Nobody in Elmira begrudges Fox their success … it really has to do with the patrons, how they behave'

What’s it like to live near a restaurant that gets written up in national magazines? Not awesome, say some people on Elmira Place, one of the streets in Candler Park that runs alongside Fox Bros Bar-B-Q. They’re getting frustrated with the restaurant — and the city.
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? “What I want from them Fox is action and what I want from the city is action,” said Milissa Cole, who lives on Elmira. She claims behavior from the simply discourteous to the outright illegal is common, especially on warm summer evenings: parking across residents’ driveways, tailgaiting, and idling in the street waiting for spaces to open, which backs up traffic onto busy DeKalb Avenue.
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? Indeed, early on a recent Friday night, the parking lot was already full and one to-go patron stopped his SUV by a fire hydrant to run in and grab his ‘cue. Neighbors say there are simply not enough parking spaces, and incivility ensues.
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? ??? Indeed, the group of neighbors who are most vocal have a photo album that shows what they’re complaining about. The photos show Fox Bros using their parking for their own vehicles and equipment, a guy trying to back into DeKalb Avenue, and a fender-bender. It also documents people crowded in the parking lot, enjoying a beer while waiting for a table.
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? “Nobody in Elmira begrudges Fox their success … it really has to do with the patrons, how they behave,” said Ripp Davey, a former resident of Elmira. He emphasized that there are several reasons why his family left the street, but that Fox traffic was part of it.
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? The restaurant has 26 parking spaces, and that is in compliance with city requirements, Fox spokeswoman Elizabeth Moore said in a written statement. She said the restaurant serves a few thousand customers each week.
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? “We understand the concerns that this growth has brought for our immediate neighbors and we want nothing more than to meet and work through the issues together,” Moore said.
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? She said the restaurant has recently hired off-duty police officers to help with parking on Saturdays and has posted signs on the patio warning people about off-site drinking. She said the restaurant will move its catering operations away by Jan. 2016. She also said Fox has signed a letter of intent on a new restaurant site.
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? “The commissary and the new restaurant will more than take the parking pressure off our DeKalb Avenue location,” Moore said.
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? But Cole, who said she’s been involved with working on the issue for about two and a half years, is afraid the talk of moving the commissary is just lip service. Residents say the neighborhood has been hearing about a commissary move for years. Moore, however, said Fox has faced considerable permitting delays.
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? Cole and her group of neighbors have lobbied Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall about the traffic. The city is expected to install a sign disallowing left turns from Fox onto Elmira. But neighbors think the restaurant is simply too popular for the spot and say the city should look more closely into how those parking spaces are used and where people are allowed to congregate and drink. 
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? Hall did not respond to e-mails and calls requesting comment. In an interview with WSB earlier this month, the councilman called Fox a home-grown success story that has grown a little out of control. “All we have to do is work together as a community to bring it back together,” he said.