City to reevaluate sidewalk drinking laws

  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Scott Harper/Times Sidewalk dining is a popular attraction on Front Street. Laws concerning what types and how alcoholic beverages are served at the sidewalk tables are expected to be discussed by Georgetown City Council on Thursday.

Diners who choose to have their meal on a sidewalk table at one of Front Street's restaurants can enjoy an adult beverage. But, city law stipulates outdoor consumption is limited to beer and wine and the drinks must be served in plastic containers.

At the request of City Council member Carol Jayroe, those ordinances are expected to be revisited when council meets for its monthly workshop this week.

At Thursday's meeting, Jayroe said she wants to see if the city's ordinance can be amended to allow sidewalk patrons to be able to consume other alcoholic beverages other than beer and wine.

She also wants to see if a change can be made that will allow glass bottles and wine glasses to be used for sidewalk guests.

Jayroe said the restaurant owners “pay us a fee to be able to use the sidewalk space” and they have insurance to cover any problems that may occur if there is broken glass.

Council member Rudolph Bradley did not say he was against the ordinance change, but he did say such a change may not be possible.

“If my recollection serves me, when we had this discussion previously we learned this has to do with state law,” Bradley said. “When we have this discussion, we need to know how the state law affects it.”

Thursday's meeting begins at 4 p.m. at Georgetown City Hall.

Rainey Park update

Also at last week's meeting, Council member Ed Kimbrough expressed his concern about the amount of time it is taking to make repairs to the fountain at Rainey Park.

The problem of the sinking fountain has been going on for more than two-and-a-half years.

The worst of the problem is the ground surrounding the fountain which is next to the western entrance to the Harborwalk boardwalk.

City leaders have said the fountain is sinking for one of two reasons.

Either the problem is soil from underneath is eroding when the tide goes out and is leaking through a retention wall, or the weight of the fountain has caused the soil to compact over time.

In October, Council approved spending $84,500 to correct the problem.

“I do not see where a considerable amount of work has been completed in the past couple of weeks,” Kimbrough said.

City Administrator Chris Carter said the project should have been completed. He said the contractor has asked for a 23 day extension because of bad weather.

“We did not agree to that extension,” Carter said. “It looks like the materials are on the site to finish the work.”

Carter said the remaining work includes building the wall, finishing the pavers and making the fountain operational.

“They know of our disenchantment and dismay,” Carter said. “There were a number of days in November they were not on the job.”

“It's hard to finish it when you are not there,” Kimbrough responded.

Carter said instead of trying to find a new contractor, it would be in the city's best interest to “rock along for a couple of weeks to see if they get it finished.”

Kimbrough said the city needs to put pressure on the contractors to get the work done.

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