What to do about outdoor dining and the variety of setups on the street in Nevada City continues to be a challenge. City staff is in the process of gathering information to make recommendations to the council regarding how to move forward. Interim City Manager Joan Phillipe inherited a cluster of problems that developed as the city attempted to respond to restrictions limiting restaurants to take out and outdoor dining for a number of months. The best case scenario being only 25% of indoor capacity being allowed at restaurants. Phillipe shared a list of concerns with the council and safety is on the top of the list.
Phillipe refers to an incident involving an impaired driver navigating around the barriers on Commercial Street and driving into the closed area. Fortunately no injuries occurred.
Physical aesthetics is also negatively impacted by the outdoor setups.
Public Works and Public Safety staff would like to see outdoor dining go away. Fire Chief Sam Goodspeed thinks removing the tents and barriers will help return a sense of normalcy to the city.
City engineer Brian McAlister reminded council the Commercial Street redesign developed per-pandemic included wider sidewalks to accommodate more activities while maintaining a one-way traffic flow allowing vehicles to circulate and access for emergency vehicles.
In order to provide more clarity in a timely, Phillipe is working with staff and business owners to bring a set pf recommendations to the council at the next meeting. Mayor Erin Minett is looking for a quick turn around.
The recommendations will likely include guidelines for outdoor dining as well as amplified music.