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City staff gets more time on outdoor dining rules

By Grace Lovins

Birmingham city commissioners voted to table the discussion of the city’s outdoor dining ordinance proposal on Monday, February 27, after city staff requested more time to tighten the ordinance language.

Planning staff have been working on an outdoor dining ordinance for nearly three years, after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The planning board held three public hearings throughout 2022 on multiple drafts. On December 14 of last year, the planning board moved forward with recommending approval of the latest draft to the city commission.

At the commission’s previous meeting on Monday, February 18, commissioners requested several changes to the ordinance language, ultimately voting 6-0 and directing staff to make appropriate changes. They also moved to postpone a decision until Monday night’s meeting.

Planning staff presented the suggested resolution for the commission to table consideration of the ordinance. Planning director Nick Dupuis explained that staff would like a little more time before commissioners see the final draft.

“We want to make sure that we take a step back and take our time with this one. We do feel like it’s a very important distinction here – the discussions that we had and the direction we were given, specifically between public property use and private use,” Dupuis sad. “We want to make sure it’s very tight and clearly written. We want it to be legally sound and we want to be able to protect the health, safety and welfare.”

Dupuis and city attorney Mary Kucharek estimated the end of March to be a rough time frame for when commissioners will see the final draft. Because the ordinance language will be changed, the commission will need to hold a public hearing again, said Kucharek.

Commissioners voted 5-0 to adopt a resolution to table discussions. Commissioners Clinton Baller and Katie Schafer were absent.


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