Tuthill pulls patio ordinance, for now

Meg Tuthill plans to postpone her outdoor patio ordinance so that she can start up a task force with stakeholders with the goal of finding a way to balance city nightlife and quiet neighborhoods.

The first-term city council member who represents Uptown and surrounding neighborhoods said she would invite restaurateurs, police, city regulatory staff, city council members and neighbors to the task force. Tuthill made the announcement the day before the City Council was set to vote on her proposal.

“My feeling is to go the table with an open mind and listen and see what comes out of it,” she said.

Tuthill said she would target owners of restaurants in all different areas of the city so as to get a better idea of how other bars coexist with neighborhoods. Then, she said, changes could be made to the patio ordinance.  

“I absolutely believe in my heart of hearts that we can come to some kind of working agreement that will work for both the industry and the community,” she said.

Tuthill’s ordinance drew dozens of restaurant owners into City Hall at a June 6 public hearing to protest the proposal to set tighter capacity limits and cut amplified music at 10 p.m.

Those restaurateurs, she said, offered several good ideas for reducing the noise that spills into residential areas after bar close. Tuthill specifically mentioned Parasole Restaurant Holdings and that company’s ideas.

Parasole, which operates the Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group, Chino Latino, Il Gato and several other Minneapolis restaurants, suggested more police patrols, parking changes at Calhoun Square, a neighborhood awareness program and better employee training to prevent problematic bar patrons from stumbling through neighborhoods.

Tuhill said she met with restaurant owners in May 2010 and told them the noise was getting out of hand and that neighbors had complained to her during her campaign for office. She says restaurants said they would make changes, but never did.

“Now that we have their attention, I think we should use it to the advantage of both the community and the industry,” she said.