patrons have had the option of dining outside surrounded with the quaint ambiance of the recently finished Oak Tree Plaza and Pinellas Trail.
But with the advent of warmer seasons and longer days, when that Florida sun comes bearing down, it presents a problem.
Café Alfresco is asking city officials to reconsider its February agreement for outdoor dining at tonight’s commission meeting. The restaurant wants to install posts for a retractable awning and a fence to prevent people from taking alcoholic beverages outside the permitted area.
“These improvements will provide a professional appearance to the outside dining area,” an agent for Café Alfresco wrote in a March 20 letter to city manager Rob DiSpirito.
According to the original agreement, improvements to the outside area are allowed, but only if the public area can be returned to its original condition. The agreement does not specify what type of improvements are allowed.
The staff is asking leaders to consider whether the requested structural improvements “would be in keeping [their] vision for the downtown.”
The restaurant seats 24 outside. The space is 21 feet long and is covered by a 15-foot length of awning attached to the building.
To cover the remaining area, the restaurant is asking to install two support posts so it can extend shade to the remaining 6 feet of space.
Café Alfresco is the second business to enter into an agreement with the city to use public space for outdoor dining.
became the first, with 20 seats in November. The Living Room also installed a privately funded, decorative fountain in the public area. At the time, one commissioner such an agreement would set for the city, but changed her mind after the business owner gave an impassioned speech about how outdoor dining fits into city leaders’ vision for downtown.