This afternoon, the Raleigh City Council’s Public Safety Committee held a hearing on the contentious ordinance that would prohibit some bars—the ones that serve no or little food—from having patios on public sidewalks. The ordinance wouldn’t have affected a lot of bars—a document tweeted by N&O reporter Andrew Kinney (see below) showed seven that have active permits—but for places like Paddy O’Beers, the Fayetteville Street bottle shop and tasting room, it would have been a severe blow.
What’s more, even those bars that would not have been directly affected didn’t like where this was headed: the city cracking down on nightlife at the behest of the condo dwellers. So they piled into Council chambers this afternoon, maybe 60 or 70 strong, many of them wearing blue shirts that said #savethepatios, to protest the city’s changes. Their voices were heard.
We’ll have more for you on this in next week’s paper, but the gist is this: The committee, at the suggestion of Wayne Maiorano, decided to put the issue off for a month, to give stakeholders including the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and some of the bars time to develop their own solution. Committee chairwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin stressed, however, that the most contentious part of the proposal—the distinction between restaurants and bars, as if places that serve food during the day somehow can’t problematically loud at night—was dead.
“I don’t want to receive 8,000 emails,” she said.
Still, there’s a lot still up in the air, including a provision that would allow the city to revoke sidewalk permits on July 4 (or maybe any other time of year the city deems fit). Because the committee voted to extend the existing permits, which are currently set to expire July 1, until August, it appears that Independence Day won’t be an issue.
We’re still reporting this story and trying to suss out what today’s hearing meant, but suffice it to say, the bar crowd walked away happy. Whether they’ll still be happy a month from now remains to be seen.