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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New MainStrasse regulations to go into effect

MainStrasse, an old German neighborhood and a national historic district, is a collection of locally-owned businesses and restaurants in Covington, Kentucky. During the evening and into the night, the business district comes alive, abound with nightlife that has at times irked residents of the neighborhood. Complaints about excessive noise, litter and sidewalk access have only escalated over the years as the neighborhood matures and becomes more dense, and the Covington City Council is set on approving new regulations that may be approved next week.


Under the new regulations, both bars and restaurants could feature outdoor seating and tables on public sidewalks, but people would not be allowed to stand alongside diners to reduce pedestrian congestion. An earlier proposal would have barred bars from having outdoor seating, but it proved an unpopular option.


In addition, sidewalk service would need to cease by 12:45 A.M. every night of the week. The exception to this would be the Sixth Street plaza near the Goose Girl fountain, where service would stop by 10:45 P.M. Sunday through Thursday and by 11:45 P.M. on Fridays and Saturdays. Tables would then need to be removed within 15 minutes for all dates and locales.


Commissioners also decided to charge a fee of $40 per four-person table and $20 per two-person table, raising approximately $2,500 per year. The cost would go to the Covington Police Department, which would partially recoup the cost of street patrols that cost the department $25,000 annually. A higher fee was also considered.


Finally, violators of the new regulations could have their outdoor seating permit revoked.


This is a positive step in the right direction for the MainStrasse neighborhood, and is a sign that the district is maturing. The regulations would maintain peace in the residential neighborhoods that line the business district, introduce enforceable regulations and partially recoup the costs of police patrols that maintain a low crime rate for MainStrasse.

5 comments:

Travis Estell said...

I have mixed opinions about this. It's surely better than the originally proposed regulations, but I don't think we should be discouraging street activity in one of our region's great urban neighborhoods.

Sherman Cahal said...

Well, I think that the proposed regulations are a huge compromise, in comparison to what was originally intended. When the neighbourhood began gentrifying in the late 1970s, there was far fewer residents and far fewer businesses, but that has certainly changed over the past 30 years. Businesses now abut residences much more so than before, and I feel that at times, the issues of noise and litter have been left unresolved by both the city and the owners of the properties.

Hopefully with this, the neighbourhood and business can coexist more peacefully late at night. I'm not against an active night-life, but these locales need to be mindful of other considerations (residents) that may be nearby.

Randy Simes said...

I think that adding any additional regulatory items would be a bad idea in this instance. They seem to have great street-level activity there presently and this is something many cities are trying to foster...why add obstacles in the way for this kind of environment.

I understand that residents may want a quieter and more peaceful neighborhood, but there are plenty of neighborhoods out there that fit that bill...some just right around the corner from here. Not all areas are able to sustain this kind of business activity.

I don't want to say that one deserves a higher priority than the other, but neighborhoods will also transform from one thing to another and to try to stop that from happening is a bad idea in my book.

Adam Hawkins said...

I agree that this is definately better than the first proposal; completely banning all sidewalk dining would have taken away some of the atmosphere for restaurants and bars in MainStrasse.

However, for an area that regularly sees festivals in addition to the every day nightlife, you would think it would be understood that it's not going to be really, "peaceful".

I suppose I can't judge though, because I don't live down there.

Sean F. said...

I find it interesting that the most stringent regulations are on a stretch of pedestrian area not connected to residential buildings whatsoever - the area by the fountain. This has always been one of the areas I thought was less crazy, with tables full of people chatting instead of partying.

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