NEWBERRY — The Newberry City Council and city boards are working to create an ordinance that would allow sidewalk cafes in downtown.
The regulations would require that patrons are able to sit in the sidewalk cafes.
“They can not be standing,” said Newberry City Manager Jeff Shacker.
Food and drinks to include beer and wine could be served to those dining.
However, Shacker added that liquor could not be served due to laws that would require off-site alcohol licenses.
Also to have a sidewalk cafe outside of a restaurant, there would be the need for sidewalk space to be preserved for walking traffic, according to Shacker.
Once the ordinance is approved by City Council in April those wanting to invest in the sidewalk cafes would have to seek approval from the city’s building and inspection officials, said Shacker.
The codes officers would have to insure that the dinning area would not endanger pedestrians or traffic flow.
The ordinance will be considered at the Feb. 18 Municipal Planning Commission meeting and by council at its meetings on March 12 and April 9.
In other efforts to make the downtown area more friendly to patrons, city leaders are meeting with Newberry College officials. These discussions will center around the student’s perceptions of the downtown area and law enforcement.
They will also discuss efforts to shuttle students between downtown and other areas of the city.
The issue with law enforcement comes after complaints that local police are targeting the students and others for drinking and driving as they leave local bars and restaurants.
Also city leaders are working with businesses to encourage the use of local taxis and/or driving patrons, who have been drinking, home.
The city is also working to provide for funding for a community police officer for the purpose of working the downtown area at special events and to have more interaction with business owners and those visiting the downtown area.