For those that read my last letter to Council Woman Tuthill, here is her response… and my response to her response. If you haven’t read my initial letter, I’d recommend that you do so before continuing on. Click here to find it.
From Meg Tuthill –
It was hard to get through all of your sarcasm to get at the meat of your email. I will do the best I can to respond to some of your scenarios.
Just to answer your question about the food trucks, if they are within 300 feet of a residence they must close at 10:00 PM. However, food trucks do not have liquor or sit down service – hence no patio – this proposal does not affect them.
I am not asking outdoor seating to close at 10:00 PM as New York, Seattle, and Chicago do – the proposed ordinance is asking that the amplified music be turned off, acoustic music is still permitted until closing.
You obviously don’t understand the capacity issue. The business gives the city the number on the patio and sticks to it. Just as they do on their interior.
Tin Fish closes at 10:00 – they are in a park – all parks close at 10:00 PM.
My Rebuttle –
Dear Councilwoman Tuthill,
I do appreciate that you’ve taken the time to respond to my email. I do realize that some sarcastic tones did start to seep out into my letter, however the overall jist is quite serious.
You’re response has definitely made an attempt to answer some of my questions, however I’m not entirely sure the breadth of them have been relieved.
First, if I could have you answer only one question, I would ask you what is wrong with the current noise ordinance. Why is it that you feel further legislation is required when laws already exist to accomplish what you seek. Perhaps at some point it becomes the citizens responsibility to make sure the current ordinances are enforced instead of spending time and money drafting new legislation that only makes it harder for the already compliant businesses to operate.
As far as the food trucks are concerned, I understand that they don’t technically have a patio, however if you read the patio bill as is, there is no clear definition of what constitutes a patio. Furthermore, the bill states nothing specifically about businesses that serve liquor or times of day, but declares that any business with outdoor seating must declare a max capacity.
The bill states that it pertains to:
Regulation of outdoor areas in on-sale liquor, wine, and beer establishments. The following regulations shall apply to all outdoor areas in on-sale liquor, wine, and beer establishments, including establishments holding sidewalk cafe permits:
Sidewalk cafe’s do not necessarily sell alcohol, yet they are being lumped into this bill.
Back to my Tin Fish argument. The fact that they close at or before 10pm in irrelevant. The fact that they will have to declare a max capacity in an extremely high pedestrian area is unreasonable. It will now be on the business to monitor the foot traffic in a city park or be fined as a consequence. Your bill makes no exception for this and will essentially require the business to hire “patio monitors” to ensure compliance. I’d like it to be known that I do in fact understand the capacity issue and I think setting an outdoor max capacity is absolutely frivolous especially given the Tin Fish scenario above.
Also, you did not at all address issues with newer establishments such as Tilia.
I think some of the more serious issues with the bill lie in some of the powers given to the City Council to enforce and restrict business operations. The roles and responsibilities of the City Council are defined as:
The City Council governs Minneapolis through its legislative, administrative, and financial power over many City functions. The Council levies taxes, enacts ordinances and resolutions, licenses businesses, and exercises budgetary and policy control over City departments.
Nowhere does it say that:
the city council may further restrict the days, hours, nature, volume, and other aspects of entertainment in any outdoor area, including a prohibition against all forms of non-live music, radio, television, and other entertainment, to protect the safety, repose, and welfare of residents, businesses and other uses near the establishment.
And it goes on to say that:
The city council may restrict the hours of operation of any proposed outdoor
area and may reduce the hours of operation of any existing outdoor area based upon
proximity of the area to residential dwelling units, and upon considerations relating to
the safety, repose, and welfare of residents, businesses, and other uses near the
The City Council does not get powers of enforcement. That’s for law enforcement and the courts. In my eyes, as well as in the eyes of others, this bill sets forth a very unsavory precedent that will allow the City Council to punish businesses at their discretion.
I hope you can understand the concerns posed here and again I ask the question, what is wrong with the law as is.