Awhile back, I wrote about the possibility that the current restrictions on sidewalk dining in downtown Lawrence could be eased.
We found out on Monday that the issue would be presented at the following day’s city commission meeting. Peach and Dave went to the meeting to get the scoop. According to Dave, Peach got up and spoke at the meeting- she always speaks so eloquently in public.
Nothing happened (yet) that will benefit The Sandbar or other bars downtown, but the commission did make one surprising change. Currently, restaurants downtown must show that at least 70% of their sales come from food (if they have or want to have sidewalk dining). The commission unanimously agreed to loosen that requirement so that food sales only have to account for 55% of sales in order for the place to be eligible for sidewalk dining.
As far as the bars that serve no food, the commissioners indicated that they would consider allowing such places to have sidewalk drinking areas, partly because existing city zoning laws will not allow any new bar-only businesses to open downtown. They requested the city manager’s staff to gather more information about the subject, which means we’ll revisit the issue at a later date.
You can read the brief news article about the meeting here.