Bountiful wants to attract downtown sidewalk cafes

Wednesday , July 09, 2014 - 11:35 AM

Standard-Examiner correspondent

BOUNTIFUL – Sidewalk cafes along Main Street will add appeal and help efforts to revitalize the city’s downtown, community officials insist.

The added feature may be just weeks away.

City council members spent time in a recent work session, dissecting the nuances of any possible ordinance, allowing restaurants on Main Street to extend their service to the sidewalk. The discussion ranged from liability issues to trash collection, lighting, music and even furniture.

The discussion has come after three separate restaurants on Main Street have approached the city about extending their service outside, according to City Attorney Russell Mahan. Mahan was directed to draft an ordinance addressing city concerns, without going too far.

“To me this is something we really want as a city. It’s going to bring people downtown. We need to be accommodating,” Councilman Richard Higginson said of any possible city ordinance on the issue.

Councilman John Pitt worries over-regulating outdoor cafes could be damaging.

“I want the tone from the city to be encouraging. I would hate for us to be seen as being opposed to that kind of thing of being the enforcement guys,” Pitt said.

Besides addressing insurance liability, the ordinance is also expected to contain provisions on when outdoor food service is allowed and when it is not. Mahan speculated outdoor cafes would be allowed between April 1 and Oct. 31.

City Manager Gary Hill said the emphasis in any possible ordinance on the topic will be simplicity.

“We’re trying to provide a low maintenance ordinance, one the city doesn’t have to be too heavily involved with,” Hill said.

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