Visitors to downtown Nashville might notice fewer horse-drawn carriages after the city suspended one prominent company after a series of violations.
The company, Sugar Creek Carriages, has been around Nashville for more than 10 years. It is one of the biggest and most popular carriage companies, but city inspectors said it continues to break the rules.
However, the owner believes he is being unfairly targeted.
"They're selectively singling me out to push me out of the business. There's all kinds of reasons, but one of the reasons that comes to mind is a parking issue that we're crowding parking downtown," said Sugar Creek owner Johnny Smith.
The Metro Transportation Licensing Commission has suspended Sugar Creek for 10 days and gave it a six-month probation after its inspectors spotted operators making illegal U-turns on Broadway.
"We've been doing U-turns and everything there for 23 years, so it was extremely unfair for them to single me out and write me tickets," Smith said.
This marks the latest in a series of violations for the company. In February 2011, Sugar Creek was given a three-month suspension for having an unpermitted operator and for riding on the sidewalk.
Four months later, it received one-year of probation for adding a carriage and changing routes without approval.
Then, it got a 30-day suspension for operating without proper lights.
Attorney Gary Blackburn, who represents Sugar Creek, said the company plans to sue the city.
"It's been a pattern of petty harassment by people who do not have the authority to issue the citations they issue," Blackburn said.
Billy Fields, director of the Transportation Licensing Commission, said the inspectors do have the authority to issue citations when they spot a violation.
"Any sort of a violation of traffic law is serous. We weren't enforcing the traffic law, because we don't have the authority to enforce the traffic law. What we were enforcing is they left the route of the carriages," Fields said.
Sugar Creek's 10-day suspension will start in January.
Blackburn said the company plans to file suit in the next couple weeks.
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