Porkopolis

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Council Delays New Outdoor Bar Rules

Residents and tavern owners can expect to square off July 31 about proposed changes that would expand the size of outdoor seating areas allowed at Cincinnati’s bars and restaurants but further restrict their hours of operation.

Cincinnati City Council delayed a decision on the proposal at its June 28 meeting, voting instead to send the item back to its Economic Development Committee for more review. Council voted 7-2 to delay a vote; Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell and Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz were opposed and wanted a decision made that day.

Under the latest proposal being considered, the size of outdoor seating areas cannot exceed 50 percent of the establishment’s indoor area that is accessible to the public. That would double the current allowed maximum, which is 25 percent of the indoor space. The outdoor areas must be at least 50 feet away from residential districts.

Also, the proposal would prohibit the use of outdoor areas between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. on other days, unless a conditional use permit is granted by the city. The changes would mean the outdoor areas would have to be closed an hour earlier than currently allowed.

The proposal would require a 10-foot buffer area next to residential districts and mandate off-street parking be provided at a ratio of one parking space per 300 square feet of outdoor floor area.

Because of City Hall renovations, the Economic Development Committee will hold its next meeting at downtown’s Duke Energy Center.

The city’s planning commission dislikes the proposed rule changes and recommended that more restrictive rule changes be passed. It rejected the proposal before city council, meaning council must muster at least six votes to overturn the decision.

Many residents also have spoken before city council objecting to the changes, noting they would make Cincinnati’s rules the least restrictive among an area including the cities of Blue Ash, Covington, Newport and Norwood.

“Voting ‘no’ means voting ‘yes’ for the family orientation of our city,” Clifton resident Michael Ramundo told council during its last meeting. “No one leaves our city because they want more bars with outdoor areas.”

Several bar owners countered that additional restrictions would harm their business and drive customers away.

City officials began considering rule changes after Oakley residents complained about customers at R.P. McMurphy’s Pub causing problems in their neighborhood. Patrons at the Wasson Road bar block their driveways when parking their vehicles, urinate on their lawns and dump beer bottles on the streets. Bar owners are appealing a decision by the state liquor board to revoke its license.

— Kevin Osborne

1 Comments:

  • "City officials began considering rule changes after Oakley residents complained about customers at R.P. McMurphy’s Pub causing problems in their neighborhood. Patrons at the Wasson Road bar block their driveways when parking their vehicles, urinate on their lawns and dump beer bottles on the streets." All of these "reasons" to consider rule changes are prohibited by existing rules. How about a little enforcement before further legislation?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:06 PM  

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