4 North End restaurant owners sue Boston mayor for $1.5M over outdoor dining fees

Four North End restaurant owners are suing Boston Mayor Michelle Wu over her policy requiring them to pay fees for outdoor dining, and demanding $1.5 million in damages.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court Monday, says Wu’s policy requiring North End restaurant owners to pay $7,500 in fees for outdoor dining, plus additional fees for using parking spaces, does not treat those owners equally and sets up “unfair methods of competition.”

Restaurant owners in other Boston neighborhoods do not have to pay the $7,500 fee, which Wu said is being used to keep the area clean and deal with residential quality of life issues.

The lawsuit calls for $500,000 in compensation and $1 million in punitive damages. At an event earlier in the day, Wu said most North End restaurants are abiding by the policy, which also lets restaurants apply to waive fees.

“We had a large number of restaurants participate in this program, nearly 70 have decided to participate in this program and so far it’s going really well,” Wu said.