Annapolis residents have had several weeks to mull the addition of sidewalk cafes in the historic district. Tonight, they'll get to tell the city council how the establishments should be regulated.
The council, which already has approved a measure to allow the outdoor tables on a temporary basis, will hear testimony on permanent legislation covering sidewalk cafes at 7 p.m. at City Hall.
Both sides in the debate say they think the sidewalk cafes -- long banned in the historic district -- belong in Annapolis. What they cannot agree on is the level of regulation.
Democratic Alderman Ellen O. Moyer of Ward 8 has sponsored a bill that sets few restrictions. The bill requires restaurant owners to obtain a liquor license and submit an application, but does not call for public hearings or additional government review.
Alderman Louise Hammond, the Democrat whose district includes the historic area, has sponsored a bill with more restrictions on the size and operation of the cafes. Ms. Hammond opposes the temporary sidewalk cafe legislation, +V saying that the council has set a dangerous precedent by suspending city code rules without getting residents' input.
These bills apply to restaurants with liquor licenses.
Meanwhile, council members have received another recommendation on sidewalk cafes. The city's Planning Commission is suggesting allowing delis and coffee shops to set up sidewalk cafes, too, Ms. Moyer said. The commission also recommends authorizing the city's Planning and Zoning Department to make decisions on sidewalk cafe regulations, she added.
Downtown restaurant owners began getting licensed for temporary cafes Sept. 12. The temporary cafes will be allowed downtown until Dec. 15.
The council is expected to vote next month on the permanent legislation.