On-Street Cafe Seating Pilot Program Coming to Stave in Uptown Normal
Normal will explore on-street cafe seating with a pilot program at Stave this summer.
Town council members voted 6-1 to approve the program Monday night, amending the Town’s liquor code to allow Stave to serve food and alcohol outdoors.
Stave’s owner approached Town staff last year with the idea to add outdoor seating in an on-street parking space in front of the wine bar and market at 111 W. North St.
While the sidewalk in front of the Uptown business would only accommodate a couple narrow tables, the proposed program would allow Stave to build a raised platform in the parking space, in effect extending the sidewalk to allow for more seating.
The platforms, sometimes called parklets, have grown in popularity in the last 3-4 years, with the majority of municipalities electing to renew their pilot programs, said Town Planner Mercy Davison.
Go Further: The City of Minneapolis, Minnesota has seasonal parklet and street café programs similar to what the Town envisions for its pilot program at Stave.
Council member Jeff Fritzen voted against the program over safety concerns, worried motorists could harm those seated at the on-street platform.
Davison said the parklet’s design needs the approval of the Town’s public works director, with safety being a major consideration. Parking blocks would create a buffer between vehicles and patrons, with reflective structures signaling the parklet’s presence to motorists.
Town staff reached out to other business owners on the North Street block for feedback on the program and found 12 of 18 favored or strongly favored the program. Those opposed (two had no opinion) voiced concern over the loss of parking that the pilot and any future on-street programs would create.
Davison said Town staff will consider feedback from Stave in evaluating the program’s success after the pilot ends October 15. Any future permanent program would include some kind of limit to cap the number of participating businesses or parking spaces used, she said.
The program is expected to begin sometime in July.