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Controversial Minneapolis patio ordinance vote postponed

  • Blog Post by: Tom Horgen
  • June 16, 2011 - 4:28 PM

In a much hyped battle over late-night noise, Minneapolis restaurant owners have spoken and Minneapolis officials have heard them loud and clear. On Thursday, Council Member Meg Tuthill said she wants to postpone Friday’s full council vote on her controversial patio ordinance.

Tuthill has been engaged in a tug-of-war with bars and restaurants over a proposed ordinance that would allow for more restrictive outdoor capacity limits and the banning of outdoor amplified music after 10 p.m. As written, it also would have given city officials the ability to impose sanctions on noncompliant establishments (which one restaurant owner called "Draconian"). Downtown Minneapolis was exempt from the ordinance.

Tuthill said a raucous June 6 public hearing, which was packed with more than 100 bar and restaurant operators, helped sway her decision to postpone. She said the city will organize a task force of industry people, community members and the police to immediately discuss the late-night noise issues.

After the re-tooling process, Tuthill said a new version of the ordinance will go before the City Council in late July or early August. The Uptown bar scene, located in Tuthill's 10th ward, has been called the epicenter of the noise complaints.

"I think nobody thought I was serious, but these are major issues for a lot of folks,” Tuthill said. “We now have their attention. It makes sense to see what [the bars and restaurants] are willing to offer.”

Kim Bartmann (who owns Barbette, Bryant Lake Bowl and the Red Stag) has been a vocal opponent of the ordinance. She said the postponement is “the smart thing to do.”

“It makes me feel good about the process,” Bartmann said. “I hope that if [the ordinance] comes forward again, more consideration will be put into it. I think we first have to define the problem before we propose solutions."

Tuthill said she is willing to compromise on some of her points if all parties can agree.

"The whole point of bringing people together is to come to a consensus," she said.

(Photo by Joel Koyama)
 

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