Bradenton City Council rejects outdoor drinking at downtown bar

mvalverde@bradenton.comAugust 16, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Two bar owners requested permission from the Bradenton City Council Wednesday to sell alcohol outdoors -- one got what he was asking for, the other left empty handed.

Old Main Pub, located downtown along Old Main Street and Third Avenue West, asked the council for authorization to sell and consume alcoholic beverages on a patio south of the building but was turned down after the council heard comments from opposing nearby business owners.

The council unanimously granted a request from Joe's Bar on State Road 64 East for outdoor seating and alcohol consumption. No one spoke in opposition of the request from Joseph Vallor, owner of Joe's Bar.

Patricia Petruff and David Dietrich, co-owners of Riverview Center, an office complex next to the Old Main Pub, asked the council not to approve the request, saying that the bar did not always keep the area clean, that some patrons used their parking spaces, and that stipulations recommended by the city were not enforceable.

City staff recommended approval of the request with nine stipulations, among them the responsibility for cleaning and maintaining the area, no outdoor music amplified after 10 p.m. except during special events, and that lighting be provided for the outside seating area.

It was also suggested that a Dumpster -- another point of contention -- be required to have a sprinkler system in case of fires.

Petruff said relocating a Dumpster from the rear side of the pub to an area closer to the parking lot and property line was "unacceptable just to accommodate someone's business plan."

"Like Patricia, I'm in opposition to the application," Dietrich told the council, adding that he understood that mixed-use businesses were important for downtown, but that the mix in this case was not 100 percent "compatible and compliant."

He said Old Main Pub's request was "too intense" for its location.

In a May 8 letter from Old Main Pub to the city, the business said its intent was to "enhance revenue and upgrade service options."

Councilwoman Marianne Barnebey pointed out a report from the police department indicating that this year there had been 52 calls so far for police assistance at Old Main Pub.

She said the calls appeared excessive and that it was difficult for her to grant the permit when they had that number of calls. Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said the department did not anticipate an increased number of calls resulting from the outdoor seating.

"Of course, we are disappointed in the decision of the City Council today, since they allow the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages on public property for the following bars: Bricks, The Distillery, Corks, and the Lost Kangaroo Pub," said J.D.Good, secretary for Winter Inc., which owns Old Main Pub, in a letter to Riverview property owners, city of Bradenton officials, and the Bradenton Herald. "Yet they have unreasonably denied use of Winter Inc.'s private property for the same thing despite approval from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Alcohol, Beverage and Tobacco to sell and serve alcohol on every square inch of Winter Inc.'s property."

Good adds in the letter that the business had been serving alcohol on the south patio for more than a decade.

Councilman Patrick Roff was the only council member who voted in favor of Old Main Pub's request.

"Both sides should win," he said. "Whether this passes or not, you are now aware of the fact that you have to try a little harder to be good neighbors."

Good said in his letter to Riverview property owners that "the scales tipped in your company's favor for nefarious reasons, and that the council denied the request based on other than reasonable grounds."

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