Patrons of the several area eateries in Flandreau will soon be able to take their meals and drinks outside after the Flandreau City Council Okayed a Sidewalk Café Ordinance at their regularly scheduled meeting last Monday night.
Local Attorney Bob Pesall brought the ordinance to the council after talking to several of the area business owners who expressed interest in allowing their customers to eat in the sunshine.
‘I don’t think it will magically make anyone a million dollars or drastically reshape the economic environment of Flandreau, but I don’t think there is any down side either and I certainly think it will help,” Pesall told the Council on Monday.
The ordinance, which is modeled after a current ordinance in Watertown, SD, would allow businesses that make 50% of their income off of food sales to put tables and chairs on their sidewalks outside their building.
There are some requirements to the ordinance. The restaurant must allow at least five feet of traffic space (based on the approximate width of a wheel chair plus another person walking along side of it). According to measurements done by Pesall, most sidewalks that this would affect are 10’6”. If a business does serve alcoholic beverages, they must put a rail on the outside of their chairs to specify where their patrons can bring their drinks.
Pesall also believes with the addition of outdoor dining, that it will put a ‘bug in the ear’ of business owners to clean up the front of their buildings and sidewalks, in what he believes would be a bit of “urban renewal” for downtown Flandreau.
The City has an ordinance already in place that states that no alcoholic beverages can be consumed in public but the wording allows another ordinance, such as the Sidewalk Café Ordinance, to be put into law without changing the original.
Neither Law Enforcement entity had an official reason why the Council should not approve the ordinance but the Council can revoke the change at any time if there is a problem in the future.
If an establishment wishes to take advantage of the new ordinance, they must come to the City with a written request with a diagram as well as a $25 fee.
Last Monday was just the first reading of the ordinance. The Council will do the second reading at their July 1st meeting before the ordinance can be put in place.