CITY HALL UPDATE // Public hearing set for outdoor patio ordinance

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June 6, 2011
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter
City Council Member Meg Tuthill (10th Ward) has introduced a new ordinance that will put restrictions on outdoor patios outside of the Downtown area.

On June 6, the city will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes. Business owners and residents will be allowed to weigh in on the proposed restrictions.

Key elements of Tuthill’s ordinance include:

• Outdoor patio capacity would be included in a restaurant’s overall capacity. Tuthill says the ordinance would give the city’s regulatory staff more power in enforcing capacity limits on outdoor patios.

• No amplified music could be played on patios after 10 p.m.

• Customers would not be able to sit at outdoor bars. Outdoor bars could only be “service bars,” where wait staff would bring drink orders.    

• The restaurant would be responsible for picking up trash within a “reasonable distance from the area.”

• Staff would be required to post signs outside telling patrons to be respectful of neighbors.

Tuthill said the ordinance is both an effort to make the patios safer and to quell the noise coming from the bars. She said many patios are fenced in or surrounded by planters that would require patrons to exit through a restaurant in the case of a fire.

When she was campaigning for her council seat in 2009, neighbors of the Uptown bar scene told Tuthill noise was their biggest concern, she said.

The ordinance would also include bars and restaurants in Northeast.

The public hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. June 6 at City Hall.

Minneapolis seeking community gardeners for 12 vacant lots

The city is seeking groups to lease one of the 12 vacant lots within Minneapolis that are ready to be turned into community gardens.

Qualifying groups must either be a not-for-profit organization or sponsored by a not-for-profit.

The city is already home to about 100 community gardens in various places.

Its community garden pilot program started in 2010 as a part of the city’s Homegrown Minneapolis initiative. The pilot program led to 18 new community gardens last year.

The soil on the lots has already been tested. They’re available as a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying groups.

The application for the program can be found at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/dhfs/homegrown-home.asp.

Minneapolis-St. Paul rated fittest metro area

The Twin Cities topped Washington D.C. as the fittest metro area in the United States, according to a recent study by the American College of
Sports Medicine.

The annual study cited several factors for the ranking. Most notably, the Twin Cities has a low- to moderate rates of smoking, obesity, asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The study also cited a high percentage of racreation faciltities and an increasing number of farmers markets.

Researchers looked at data from the U.S. Census, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the Trust for Public Land and other data.

Minneapolis-St. Paul ranked third in 2010. This year was the first time the Twin Cities ranked first overall.

Nearly 86 percent of Americans have health insurance, while 93 percent of Twin Cities residents have it.  

About 15 percent of Twin Cities residents smoke, compared to 18 percent nationally.

Boston, Portland and Denver rounded out the top five cities. Oklahoma City, Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham and Detroit ranked as the five
worst cities.

Reach Nick Halter at nhalter@mnpubs.com.