UPDATE 4/22/13 @ 9:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston city leaders are considering amending a 1-year-old outdoor food ordinance.
The planning committee meets Thursday to debate whether to vote down or move forward with three changes to the ordinance.
The changes include narrowing outdoor dining areas so streets are more pedestrian friendly and more accessible to those with a disability.
The current ordinance requires 3 feet of sidewalk outside restaurants with outdoor dining. The change would require 4 feet of sidewalk.
The second change would make fencing more uniform for restaurants with dining areas in Charleston.
The amendments also would involve prohibiting smoking in outdoor dining areas. Currently smoking is prohibited within 15 feet of a restaurant’s door.
“People that do smoke will flick their buds right out in the street, regardless of whether receptacles are available," City Manager David Molgaard said. “And you'd be surprised how much of a problem that causes because it all collects in the sewers.”
People who smoke say if they can't smoke in most indoor businesses and they can't smoke when they're eating outdoors, where can they smoke?
“People shouldn't have to hide in their basement or in their closets to smoke when they can go outside,” Ruth Belcher said.
Marsha King admits she smokes and said while she's not a fan of the added restrictions, she can see a silver lining.
“I'm not going to say I'm in favor of it,” King said, “but it's providing more and more encouragement for people to give [cigarettes] up.”
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at the City Service Center, located at 915 Quarrier St. in Charleston.
City Council on Monday night approved an ordinance that creates and regulates outdoor dining on public sidewalks.
The ordinance is only for certain areas in downtown Charleston.
But city officials say this plan will help bring people into the city and boost the economy.
If a restaurant serves alcohol, they will have to follow all regulations that are set by the Alcohol Beverage Commission.
The Planning Committee of City Council approved an ordinance Monday evening that will create and regulate outdoor dining on public sidewalks.
The committee made an amendment that restaurants will have to follow regulations from the Alcohol Beverage Commission.
The bill will now go to the Finance Committee.
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