Local Politics

Proposed Raleigh ordinance would limit patio drinking

Posted May 31, 2015
Updated June 2, 2015

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— Andrew Pepin sometimes prefers to enjoy his beer outside, but a proposed change to a Raleigh city ordinance could limit his outdoor drinking.

“One of the greatest things about Raleigh is being able to sit outside and enjoy the beverage, enjoy the weather,” Pepin said Sunday while drinking outside Paddy O’Beers.

Sales from the Fayetteville Street bar are generated by alcoholic beverages, but a change to the city’s outdoor dining ordinance would allow only businesses that qualify as “eating establishments” and “food businesses” to have outdoor patios.

The change, proposed by Raleigh Assistant City Manager Marchell Adams David, defines a food business as one that regularly sells food eaten outside the establishment, such as a bakery. An eating establishment, according to the proposal, is one where alcohol sales do not comprise more than 70 percent of annual sales.

City Manager Ruffin Hall said the change affects fewer than a dozen establishments downtown.

Still, bar owners are not pleased with the proposal.

“I think the effect, whether they intend it or not, is a more restrictive environment for who can put furniture in front of their shop,” said Seth Hoffman of The Raleigh Wine Shop.

Paddy O’Beers owner Zack Medford believes the proposal is targeted towards businesses like his.

Medford started an online petition that has garnered more than 2,300 signatures.

“An ordinance that would take away our patio is kind of a slap in the face,” he said.

The issue was referred to the City Council's Law & Public Safety Committee, which will discuss it on June 9. The original ordinance referred to an "outdoor dining permit," officials said, so council members will look at the wording when considering any changes.


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  • Paul Donovan Jun 10, 2015
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    You better take a look at the makeup of city council !

  • Hondo Creech Jun 2, 2015
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    The Puritans are at it again

  • Drut Nosugref Jun 2, 2015
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    C'mon Benny. Are you really that self-righteous that you feel you can pass judgement on one's opinion of what makes Raleigh great? Pfffft. Hypocrite.

  • Eric Peters Jun 2, 2015
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    My wife and I visited several European countries last summer. It was a major pleasure in all of these countries to enjoy a beverage outdoors--sidewalk cafes were everywhere, and they were open from early morning until late at night. Why can't we enjoy such a simple pleasure in the US? Is it politics or Puritanism? This article gave no reason for the proposed ban. That's because there is no good reason. Marchell David should withdraw this ridiculous, consumer unfriendly proposal.

  • Ben Sanders Jun 2, 2015
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    You obviously aren't familiar with Medford's history with city politics.

  • Josh Hill Jun 2, 2015
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    Why should one have to run for City Council in order to oppose onerous and unnecessary laws?

  • Ben Sanders Jun 2, 2015
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    I wasn't paraphrasing, Terd

  • Ashley Moore Jun 1, 2015
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    If the patio is public property, I could understand. If the patio is the private property of the restaurant, then I seriously do not understand.

  • Tammy Rush Jun 1, 2015
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    "Sitting outside drinking alcohol" isn't the problem, or the point. Sitting outside on a patio drinking an alcoholic beverage in front of a bar is no different than sitting outside on a patio drinking an alcoholic beverage in front of a restaurant. Something tells me that Marchell Adams David got her palms greased by restaurant owners downtown who don't want bars to offer outdoor seating to their patrons because it takes away from their business.

  • Dean Logan Jun 1, 2015
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    Do they do Live After 5 anymore?

    Lots of drinking outside on the "patio" with that.