Before amending its sidewalk cafe ordinance, St. Pete wants to get your input on how the law could/should be implemented.
Two public input meetings will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 30 and Feb. 27 at the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth Ave. N. During the meeting, the city said economic development staff would present an overview of current regulations, and then take questions and comments from the public.
Hugh Tulloch, president of the Downtown Residents Civic Association, said at a December Public Services & Infrastructure meeting that the amount of sidewalks cafes is not the problem, but their noise.
"I’m a huge fan of sidewalk cafes," Tulloch said in December. "I moved here in 1995 and went downtown one night, we couldn’t find anyone with a light on. But, what we'd want to do is put a few reasonable restrictions on them."
The existing sidewalk cafe ordinance only deals with bars and restaurants that use the public right-of-way, not all business with outdoor spaces. While spaces like Vue 19, the Garden or Push Ultra Lounge have outdoor seating, it would not apply because it is on private property.
The planned public meetings are a result from a December 2012 vote by council to get more public input on sidewalk cafes.
In December, Phil Lazzara, of the city's economic development department, said possible regulations for sidewalk cafes include:
- Distinguish cafes within zoning districts
- Regulate if they could be near residential properties
- Regulate outdoor amplified noise
- Creating standards for shade structure size
- Sitting vs. standing regulations for sidewalk cafes
- Restricting sidewalk cafe operating hours
If you cannot make it to the Jan. 30 or Feb. 27 meetings but still want to let the city know how you feel, you may submit comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 28.