TRAVERSE CITY — City commissioners reversed themselves on a proposed outdoor dining ordinance over concerns a four-foot-wide sidewalk passage falls a foot short.
Commissioners unanimously voted on Monday to send the ordinance, which also would allow platform dining in street-side parking spaces, back to a committee of commissioners for another look. The change of heart came after a half-dozen people in wheelchairs showed up to tell commissioners four feet is not wide enough to navigate around outdoor cafes.
"Being in a wheelchair on some days is just so hard to get by on Front Street," said city resident Donna Gerhard. "I cannot imagine taking more space for restaurants because there just is no room for us."
Commissioners appear set on expanding the required unobstructed passage called for in the ordinance from four to five feet but the fate of the platform dining remains unclear, based on their comments.