Meridian Star

Local News

July 6, 2014

City amends 'sidewalk drinking' rules

MERIDIAN —     Changes in the way some restaurants can serve alcohol may boost restaurant sales in downtown Meridian.

    The Meridian City Council recently amended the rules that regulate consumption of alcoholic beverages on public streets.

    According to Michael Goggans, former city attorney, the amendment essentially decriminalized the consumption of alcoholic beverages outside a Class A restaurant — for example, in a sidewalk dining area. Without this modification, he said, having a beverage outside the restaurant would be a violation of the city's ordinances.  

    Dustin Markham, Ward 2 Councilman and council president, said it will be good for business.

    "Restaurants that are near a heavily populated area where there is consistent pedestrian traffic or an area where people want to sit outside and eat, I think they will take advantage of it and they'll start adding that to what they provide as a restaurant," Markham said.

    Markham added that it will apply to Class A restaurants that join the city's right of way and have immediate access to a public sidewalk. He said this does not mean that people can walk up and down the sidewalks with alcoholic beverages. It applies only to where there are tables set up outside a restaurant.

    Charles Frazier, owner of Weidmann's Restaurant, said although it won't affect that restaurant specifically now, it is good news for downtown dining. They have no tables right outside on the sidewalk, although they do have outside tables on their balcony.

    "I think it's a good thing. Any time you can open and encourage businesses to extend their offerings, I think it's great," Frazier said. "The effect on our business would be negligible, except for the fact that more people might come downtown. It certainly won't change the way we are conducting business at this point. We may consider putting tables out there. I think that any time you can allow people to that sort of thing, it's better for the city and it's certainly better for downtown. It's the sort of environment that we like down here."

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