Bengies Sues Royal Farms for Light Pollution

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Bengies, circa 1998, obviously.

Bengies Drive-In on Eastern Boulevard boasts the largest theatre screen in the country (and one of the most typographically pleasing marquees — multiple sizes and colors, wow! ), and it can probably now claim one of the boldest lawsuits for a drive-in to initiate against a nearby light polluter. Bengies is suing the near-by Royal Farms, demanding $750,000 for an 800-foot wall to block light from the convenience store, as well as $306,000 in lost revenue due to the infeasibility of building a second screen, as was once planned.

Bengies owner and scion of drive-in royalty D. Edward Vogel presents the situation as dire. If he can’t keep the light from the Royal Farms — which was given a special exception in 2003 to build near the theater — from interfering with his patrons’ enjoyment of the movies, then Bengies “cannot exist in this location.” As it is, Vogel says that the lights force him to open weeks later than he would like, as he must wait for leaves on the trees to block some of the light.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out, as either way it will set a precedent — whether for ignoring the interests of drive-in operators or staunchly protecting them.

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