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New Raleigh sidewalk seating rules being strictly enforced

Posted September 13, 2015

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— Raleigh’s new rules on sidewalk seating were strictly enforced this weekend.

A group of people who come to Calavera restaurant and bar frequently had a different experience Sunday-they were roped in. Owner Kenneth Yowell said the change is necessary.

"It's definitely turned into a bit of a more pinned in scene than it was," Yowell said.

After a three week grace period, businesses now face a fine for not complying with the ordinance that limits the number of people being served in outdoor patio space to one person per every 15 square feet. The dividers are a reminder that the new ordinance requires that the patio be at least five feet from the curb.

"Since then, we've had to remove a few tables that, even though thee were enough seats for someone to sit at, we could no longer fit six people at a table," Yowell said. "We could only fit three at some of the tables and six at some of them."

The ordinance also limits the time people can hang out in the patio area.

"I think it will definitely impact our time here, especially since we live in Durham so it's a 45 minute drive," said Durham resident Kim Voss. "So we would most likely stay out in Durham knowing that we would have to kind of bring our business, our conversation inside."

Some who live near the area have slightly different views.

"Usually people travel in big groups so when they're walking down the sidewalk they want to be able to get through,. They don't want to go onto the street because there's a lot of traffic," said Raleigh resident Tyler Jones. "I think it's a good idea."

Yowell said that he understands the city’s concern about sidewalk seating, but thinks they’re addressing it the wrong way.

“There was little to no enforcement and when that happens, people push a little bit and when nobody says anything, people push a little bit more” said Calavera owner Kenneth Yowell.” “I think that the way they tried to solve the problem just went so overboard.”

As of September 8, four businesses were cited for not having a sidewalk permit or having filed an application. Dozens more received warnings.

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