Dick O'Dow's alleyway outdoor dining okayed

April 10, 2020

Dick O'Dow's, 160 W. Maple Road in downtown Birmingham, received approval from the Birmingham City Commission at their meeting Monday, April 6, to  relocate its outdoor dining area to the rear of the building during the 2020 outdoor dining season due to the Maple Road reconstruction project.

City planning director Jana Ecker explained to commissioners, who were meeting through a virtual meeting set-up, that owner Mitch Black requested five tables out the rear of his establishment with four seats each, all of which would be on his property in the Willits Alley.

Previously, commissioners had unanimously approved owner Mitch Black's request to waive the $2,800 application fee and to expedite his request for a special land use amendment to make the move outside “The Dow,” a back room which opens out with a garage door to the Willits Alley. Ecker said the city's planning board unanimously recommended approval to the commission.

The rear outdoor seating will close at midnight daily.

Commissioner Rackeline Hoff asked if once the road construction is finished, could they also have the front platform patio. Ecker said her understanding was that the existing platform will no longer fit with the new construction design, but that commissioners could put a restriction in the pending motion to prohibit it. Commissioners debated whether they wanted to do that, but Black told the commission he only intended to have outdoor seating in the rear this season.

“Number one is to keep my business viable, and we don't know what the demand will be for the back, then we'll take a look,” Black said. “This year, we have no intention of having it in the front.”

“In the future, I don't see a problem with him having both areas open,” commissioner Clinton Baller said.

Commissioners approved the rear outdoor dining area, 6-0, with mayor pro tem Therese Longe recused as her husband worked on the designs.

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