Proposed Raleigh ordinance would limit patio drinking
Posted May 31, 2015
Updated June 2, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.