By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On warm summer nights, patios and rooftops are packed at restaurants with outdoor seating in Minneapolis.

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For many, it’s one of the best parts of summer. But for some neighbors, outdoor seating is a loud nighttime nuisance.

The city is thinking about changing the law and lowering the volume, but that may hurt businesses like uptown’s Cowboy Slim’s.

“In the summer time we got to get it when we can, and that means packing people out here on this patio,” said Evan Freeberg, manager of Cowboy Slim’s. “This is where they want to be and this is where they are going to spend their money. If we can’t have it, it will definitely impact our business in a negative way.”

If the city council has its way, city regulators would have more power in enforcing capacity limits on outdoor patios. The proposal would also prohibit amplified sound after 10 p.m.

“Noise is spilling into our streets … and creating a dangerous carnival atmosphere right in our front yards,” said one concerned resident of Uptown.

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People packed the public hearing on the issue Monday. Some complained about noise. Business owners complained that the proposal gives the council absolute power to regulate their businesses.

“We have over 300 seats out here so in the summer when we get those beautiful days; It’s a huge percentage of our business,” said Shannon Freitag, the customer service manager of Psycho Suzi’s.

Freitag feels the city should look at each outdoor seating situation separately.

“It’s upsetting because it’s becoming more of a blanket amendment,” Freitag said.

Businesses downtown are exempt, and that doesn’t set well with lots of other businesses that are now faced with losing money.

Most at the public hearing, however, want a compromise to keep both the businesses and people who live around them happy.
The city council will vote on the issue next week.

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It’s believed because of today’s public hearing, there will be some changes to make the proposal acceptable for everyone.

Reg Chapman