Meg Tuthill responds to voicemail criticism
|Tuthill and her husband were longtime Uptown-area small business owners.|
Meg Tuthill has been taking heat for a snotty voicemail she left a beer brewer who wants to open a brew pub at the intersection of 25th Street and Hennepin Avenue South, but can't due to an ordinance she authored banning the sale of beer growlers within 300 feet of a school's property line.
Yesterday, Tuthill tried to set the record straight by writing a lengthy comment on City Pages' post about her voicemail. Tuthill, who with her husband owned Tuthill Balloon Emporium at that same intersection for more than a quarter-century, points out that the lot line-to-lot line spacing spelled out by the ordinance in question simply follows "how the City determines spacing for everything else." She writes that she, "like many residents, [is] tired by yet another business wanting to go around the law or change the law claiming their business will 'revitalize' a very vital community."
Her full comment is after the jump.
Response from Council Member Meg Tuthill:
I, like many residents, are tired by yet another business wanting to go around the law or change the law claiming their business will "revitalize" a very vital community.
The reason there are very few vacancies in Uptown and the surrounding area is because it is a hot spot. That's why businesses want to locate here.
So we are on the same page, the ordinance in question is off sale liquor store spacing from schools. Before this ordinance was adopted spacing requirements for off sale liquor stores were measured from front door to front door. All this ordinance change did was standardize the spacing. As amended, the ordinance now states off sale liquor stores must be spaced 300 feet apart measured from lot line to lot line. As far as I know, there is no variance option for this ordinance.
The 300 foot spacing requirement was supported by surrounding community members and the Minneapolis Public Schools.
Lot line to lot line is how the City determines spacing for everything else, from building a garage to the development of multi-family dwellings. Case in point - there were two liquor stores in North Minneapolis that moved their front doors multiply times to get around the spacing requirement. They ended up in court. If the ordinance had been lot line to lot line at that time both businesses would have had saved a lot of time, effort and money.
I would like to reiterate that I am a big fan of patios and outdoor dining. Like everyone else in the summer, if a restaurant has a patio I am more inclined to patronize that establishment.
When I was running for office the number one issue I heard from residents was the noise, obnoxious behavior and livability issues in the neighborhoods surrounding Hennepin and Lake from late at night to early in the morning. I am responding to what my constituents are asking for.
In May of 2010, I called together the bar/restaurant owners to discuss the issues that needed to be addressed. The bar/restaurant owners literally blew off the residents and the City.
By bringing forward an ordinance it brought everyone back to the table.
Then, I put together a task force with the bars/restaurants, licensing, Hospitality Industry, residents, CM Goodman, CM Schiff and the police. The task force came up with several suggestions that are working very well this summer. Several of the bars/ restaurants are paying for 2 extra squad cars in the neighborhood from Thursday through Saturday nights. This has helped make it safer for the residents who walk home from the restaurants and has also helped cut down on the obnoxious behavior of the folks passing through. The bars/restaurants have participated in a Hush Campaign as well as many other small changes that are having a huge impact on the residents living closest to the business district. My compliments and great appreciation goes to the restaurants/bars for their participation and help with the issues that have affected the surrounding communities.
What I am opposed to is not having enough parking, taxi, bus service and bike parking to accommodate the numbers of folks that come into our community. The parking in the neighborhoods with the noise, vandalism, urinating, and vomiting is not acceptable in our community or any other. The City, the residents and the businesses have been diligently working on these issues. Some very positive progress is happening. A prime example is the taxi stands which have been very well received. This is a terrific win for all of the stakeholders.
Thanks again for the opportunity to set the record straight - I appreciate it.