IC Council expresses favor in sidewalk ordinance amendment

BY DI STAFF | MARCH 21, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa City restaurants could soon make several significant changes to their sidewalk cafes.

Iowa City City Councilors discussed amending the sidewalk cafe ordinance after city staff recommended a change in clearance for restaurants located next to alleys. The amendment would call for a reduction of ten feet to two feet for the amount of clearance for all sidewalk cafes located next to alleys.

Councilor Jim Throgmorton, who served on the council in 1995 when the original sidewalk cafe ordinance was adopted, said he would support the proposed change, calling it a great idea.

Sidewalk cafes would be allowed to maintain a ten-foot clearance.

The first reading of the ordinance will be held at the next City Council meeting on April 3. The second and third readings will both take place on April 17.

City officials also presented councilors with the idea of second-story sidewalk cafes. City officials said at least one downtown restaurant has expressed interest in a second-story sidewalk cafe.

"I would love a second story sidewalk cafe," Councilor Connie Champion said. "I'd like to keep an open mind on this … there is going to be some new building downtown."

Discussion of second-story sidewalk cafes will likely continue at a future council meeting after city officials put together a proposal.

—By Kristen East

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