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Hagerstown council to vote on sidewalk cafes

November 07, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN ? The Hagerstown City Council is to vote at its regular meeting Nov. 27 on whether to allow sidewalk cafes downtown.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue on Tuesday briefed the council about the proposal, which city staff members came up with, in part, by incorporating methods that are used by other cities.

To be considered, he said, business owners would have to apply for two licenses - one from the city for permission to use the sidewalk, the other from the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County to be allowed to serve alcohol.

Tissue said the licenses would be issued on a yearly basis.

The cafe enclosures would have to be situated in such a way as to maintain at least 4 feet of unobstructed sidewalk space for pedestrians, he said. To accommodate people with disabilities, the space between tables would have to be a minimum of 3 feet.

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Tissue said the Hagerstown Police Department would be responsible for ensuring the businesses were in compliance with the regulations, and violators could lose their licenses.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer said she was concerned about a provision in the license proposal that would allow business owners to anchor cafe enclosures to the sidewalk.

She said it wouldn't make sense to tear up the sidewalk, especially considering the council recently approved a $455,000 project that includes replacing the concrete sidewalks in the first block of South Potomac Street with bricks.

Tissue said bricks could be removed to secure the enclosures and replaced later.

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