Carrie Boyd and Cathy Boyd, owners of CB's Tavern on Main Street, thought they had a simple request when they approached Delta City Council last week. But their proposal to buy a bench and a bike rack to place on public property in front of their business generated a great deal of comment and, in the end, no decision.
"We thought the bench would create a place for patrons to sit down and socialize while they were waiting for a table, especially our elderly guests," Cathy explained. "And the bike rack would encourage people to ride their bikes — a good thing for a bar, you would think."
But what seemed so simple to the Boyds became increasingly difficult as staff and council members dove into the city codes which deal with the use of public property for private uses. The sidewalk in front of CB's Tavern at 334 Main Street is public property, the Boyds acknowledge. They would not restrict the use of the bench to their patrons, nor would they obstruct pedestrian traffic by placing the bike rack in such a way that people would be forced to walk around. They showed council members (two of whom were absent) a drawing of the U-shaped pipe which would be placed parallel to Main Street to hold the bikes.
According to Delta Municipal Code, any person utilizing the sidewalk must preserve a minimum of nine feet of sidewalk adjacent to the curb to be clear of merchandise and obstructions.
Staff also expressed a concern that the bench would be used for a smoking area, in violation of a city code which specifies that no smoking be allowed within 15 feet of an entryway. The bench would be placed to one side of the door, the Boyds explained, on the opposite side of a cigarette butt receptacle they also purchased, "so as not to give the impression it encourages smoking."
At the council meeting, Glen Black, director of community development, showed slides of the benches currently positioned along Main Street. Very few were more than 15 feet from the entry of an establishment, the Boyds noted, and all but one or two are privately owned.
As for the bike rack, the concern was expressed that then everyone would want a bike rack. "There was no thought for being healthy or environmentally conscientious," Cathy Boyd said.
"This really isn't about private use on public property, because both the bench and the bike will be available for everyone to use," Cathy added. "Only the funding is private — and we are open to any design suggestions they come up with."
To clarify the accepted use of the city sidewalk, the city attorney plans to draft an amendment to the Delta Municipal Code to be reviewed at the first meeting in November.blog comments powered by Disqus