By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
In the depths of winter, it can be hard to remember the pleasures of drinking a beer at an outdoor table, watching the world go by.
But with the City Council threatening to tighten restrictions on outdoor dining, hundreds of people are mobilizing to defend one of the great joys of summer in Minneapolis.
The proposed amendment would set a "maximum customer capacity" for the outdoor areas of bars and restaurants, and penalize establishments that allowed that number to be exceeded. That would mean no stepping outside to smoke, no running into people and sitting down at their table, no getting a breath of fresh air.
Councilwoman Meg Tuthill, who sponsored the amended ordinance, says she wrote it to try to keep a lid on the nightlife in her home neighborhood of Uptown. Patrons of the bars and restaurants tend to park on residential streets, she says, causing congestion and waking residents up when they return to their cars at the end of the night.
"It starts at midnight and goes to about three in the morning six nights a week," Tuthill says. "It's out of control."
It isn't just the late-night noise that's the problem, Tuthill says. It's the behavior of people leaving Uptown bars and restaurants as they pass through the neighborhood on the way to their cars.
"Along with all the traffic comes vandalism of the property, from ripping up plants to urinating and throwing up in our yards and our porches," Tuthill says. "That kind of vandalism and behavior is not appropriate any place."
But if Tuthill thought her ordinance change would go down smoothly, she was mistaken.
As word of the proposed changes got out to bar and restaurant owners, they were outraged. Tuthill's tactics to coral the chaos at places like Cowboy Slim's in Uptown could potentially devastate business like the mild-mannered Brasa in Northeast, which doubles its seating capacity with outdoor seats during the summer months.
"It just doesn't make any sense," says Kim Bartmann, who owns Barbette, Bryant-Lake Bowl, and Red Stag, among others. "There are very few patios that are causing most of the problems, and legislating broadly against a very few problematic properties doesn't serve the city well."
Bartmann and other restaurant and bar owners wanted to get word of the proposed regulations out to the public, so they started a Facebook page called Minnesotans for Going Outside. Within hours, it had more than 800 fans, and the Facebook wall was filling up with angry supporters.
Tuthill says the restaurateurs and their supporters are overreacting.
"Are we talking about putting an end to outdoor dining? Absolutely not," she says. "We're talking about small changes and clarifications to the existing ordinance."
Even so, Tuthill yanked the proposed ordinance changes from last week's City Council meeting, pledging to solicit more input from the community.
"I have every intention of bringing it back to the table," Tuthill says. "This is all about creating a balance."
Meg Tuthill is ridiculous. My friend lived next door to her and she called the cops on us DOZENS of times for noise complaints. No parties going on just a few people getting together and playing Jenga and cards.
This has nothing to do with safety or community this is just her trying to create the ideal environment for HER to be in.
making it harder for Minneapolis business to make some money only hurts the city if you want quite boringness live in the subs. if you want to fix the problem put more cops on the street.
This is unconstitutional. Business owners should be allowed to run their businesses as they see fit within the law. These business have existed for years and most of the people living near them either 1) knew that this was part of the neighborhood they were purchasing in or 2) bought in the vicinity to be NEAR these places to enjoy them.
Meg, working on less regulation and accept the fact you live in a lively neighborhood. I heard there are a lot of houses for sale in quiet neighborhoods in Anoka.
Uptown Bars are chock full of 20-something,self-entitled,alcohol-worshipping Douchebags. Anything to curtail their obsession for attention is a good thing.
If she wants restaurants to clean up the streets after they close. It should be all businesses like say a family owned ballon shop as well????
Seriously. Is this why Meg ran for City Council?? To stop all the things that annoy her...noisy bars, liquor stores that are too close for her liking. I know, these things are all easier to do something about than, oh say, property taxes, but she should have at least consulted business owners on this before trying to steamroll this over everyone.
The only one of the problems extra regulation of patios would solve is people talking outside at late hours. However, I know that wouldn't really be solved. You get out of the establishment late at night, you are talking with your friend until you head your separate ways and that takes 20-30 minutes outside on of your cars and disturbs the residents. I have had it happen to me and I know I have done it.
Now if you want to regulate outdoor patios in Minneapolis, I, my suggestion would be to ensure that proper paths were created for the pedestrains to get past the outdoor seating, thinking especially of the busy area outside of what was Figilo's which was too narrow for the walking public.
Maybe Meg should go move to Maple Grove and leave the city to people who love city life, instead of a group of gentrified NIMBY's who want to live in Maple Grove, but want to pretend to be hip enough to live in the city. If she wants a suburb she can move to one. I've already written to my councilwoman as well as joined the Minneapolitans for Going Outside, and I would suggest everyone to do the same. Just the worst thing to happen, especially since those of us who live in other parts of the city would have to be relegated to the same rules. Maybe she should work on why we can't park on both sides of the street during the winter because of poor plowing, or the fact that there are streets that make the surface of the moon look smooth. Waste of taxpayer dollars, goodwill, time, and energy.
Meg Tuthill is among the best city council members we've had in decades to represent our ward!
I just read the proposed ordinance, and it doesn't seem that onerous, but is a work in progress and any one can submit suggestions for improvement in language. Apparently some pre-existing patios will be "grandfathered in."
A new proposal is coming along for a rooftop patio at Restaurant Amore Victoria -- it may have some novel features.
Although we have a lot of cold and wintery weather here most of the year, I think we could use some creativity in our fine City relative to patio design and technologies that mitigate nuisances for those trying to reside nearby (and they are oftentimes are regular customers of local businesses, too, besides folks from outside the area) while also offering enjoyable experiences for outdoor diners.
As I wrote previously and it bears repeating: As for Meg, she has a unique well-rounded background compared to many others elected to office -- strong personal experience in public advocacy, private business, neighborhood and school affairs, all the time handling the domestic duties of wife/mom/grandmother, etc. She's got a solid base of voter support in the Ward.
Meg truly respects having a good mix of businesses, the need to maintain a vibrant strong residential base (in an area where property values & property taxes remain relatively "high" compared to several other spots), and whenever possible she attempts to strike a 'balance' among numerous interests/stakeholders. Year in and year out, Meg rolled up her sleeves to make the area a better place to live and work -- for decades in the Wedge and areas nearby/across the City, etc. She's saved lovely historic homes from unnecessary demolition, owned a long-time business on Hennepin Avenue which provided jobs for youth during robust and recessionary periods, volunteered with the schools/neighborhoods/police groups and business efforts (she founded the South Hennepin Business Assn. in early 1990s...was on the LHENA board), started "recycling" before it was a household word or common practice, etc. As a CM she and her Council staff are very responsive to constitutents, so if any one wishes to propose amendment(s) to the proposed ordinance, simply email your suggestions to the CM's office. I presume there will be a public hearing, too, and any one can share their thoughts at that public venue. On any given day, I don't always agree on "everything" with every elected official, city staff, my husband or a friend/acquaintance, a developer/business proponent of something or other -- that's the nature of things.
I hope folks, especially those who are strongly opinionated and who "care alot" about something will "show up" and do the "work" involved in crafting workable solutions, consensus, compromise.
It's not because of the patios, that's a moronic idea.
But if she wants to pass an ordinance to bulldoze Cowboy Slim's to the ground, I'm all for it. That would probably take care of her problem too.
Typical politician BS. Since something annoys her, it's the whole city's "problem". Why did she move into Uptown in the first place?
Also "It starts at midnight and goes to about three in the morning six nights a week". WTF? Okay, Friday and Saturday nights I agree with, but during the rest of the week the area is pretty mellow considering the number of bars in the area.
As besensible pointed out, it's the "weekend warriors" that give Uptown a bad name. Instead of painting a wide swath across all Minneapolis bars, it would be a better idea to focus on the establishments like Drink and Cowboy Slim's that regularly overcrowd their bars and overserve the patrons.
It's not people sitting at patios that create the types of problems Tuthill describes--it's our version of the bridge & tunnel crowd. How about limiting the number of d-bags in Ed Hardy shirts from the suburbs at Uptown bars? I'm sure the noise, urinating and vomiting would drop precipitously.
Sounds like Meg needs a lobotomy.... Cant take the heat? get out the dugout. Mpls has been plagued by self loathing sticklers like Meg for too long.