Bemidji City Council moves dining amendments to another public hearing and reading

The Bemidji City Council moved the proposed dining amendments to another hearing and reading after a public hearing last night.

These amendments would permit alcoholic beverages to be served in temporarily expanded patios downtown, similar to what was seen during the summer of 2020.

When emergency powers ended last summer, alcohol was no longer allowed to be served in these temporary patios.

Many in attendance for the public hearing, including downtown business owners, expressed concern over a lack of parking spaces downtown.

“Parking downtown is at a premium,” said MJB Home Center owner Dave Smith and he expressed concern that his parking permit-holding employees won’t be able to find a spot during the summer.

Ward 5 candidate and Bemidji Woolen Mills owner Bill Batchelder had issues with the aesthetic of the proposed orange barricades used in previous temporary patios.

Batchelder supported more aesthetically-pleasing barriers for sidewalk patios but was opposed to orange barricades in the streets.

The motions to move the amendments passed 5-1 after a discussion among the council for some alternatives to the allowable barricades and the amended fee schedule relating to liquor licenses for restaurants that opt-in.

The amendments must have a unanimous vote during the final reading to pass.

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