There's no denying the power of the patio in Dallas, a city that boasts temperate climates during much of the year. It's rare to see a new bar or restaurant open without a breezy, dog-friendly patio, and some recently opened spots have patios far larger than the interior restaurant itself.
But business owners believe the future of Dallas' vibrant patio scene may be in jeopardy because of recently proposed regulations, and tonight, they're meeting to discuss options. Via a Facebook invite for tonight's discussion:
Dallas City Council has asked city staff to explore two possible amendments to local ordinances.
One amendment supported by some City Hall officials would force all bars, restaurants and retail establishments with uncovered patios to provide parking spaces for all the patio patrons they serve.
Another amendment supported by some City Hall officials would force all bars city-wide to obtain special permits just to stay open past midnight.
The answer to keeping Dallas’ most exciting neighborhoods safe and respectful to nearby residents is City Hall enforcing the parking, noise and vagrancy laws that are currently on the books.
At 6 p.m. tonight at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library Auditorium, bar and restaurant owners will meet to discuss the potential impact of these proposed regulations. Their concerns go well beyond just giving diners a breezy spot to eat — they fear too many regulations may cripple neighborhoods that rely heavily on outdoor drinking and dining. "Don’t let your favorite neighborhood (or business) go dark," organizers say on Facebook.
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The general public is welcome to come give input at the meeting, and people certainly have thoughts on the matter. At a recent meeting of the Kidd Springs Neighborhood Association in Oak Cliff, locals peppered a TABC agent with questions and concerns about Bishop Arts District patios, complaining that the bar and restaurant patios were open too late and brought excess noise and drunken behavior to the neighborhood.
A large number of local bars and restaurants — including every eatery at Trinity Groves and popular patio spots like Chicken Scratch, Bar Belmont and Bolsa — have already signed on with Save the Patio to voice their opinions on the situation loud and clear.
"Another misguided idea put forward by the city of Dallas," Meri Dahlke, owner of Eight Bells Alehouse and Ten Bells Tavern, posted on Facebook about the issue. "If they really want this city to be a progressive 'world class' destination, the powers that be need to focus on making this city better, not trying to create more obstacles for people who own the businesses that make Dallas what it is. If you've got time and don't want to live in a 'nanny state' of a city, you should go to this meeting tonight."
Public meeting about Dallas bar and restaurant patios, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library Auditorium, 1515 Young St.