Georgetown OKs outdoor drinks

It soon could be possible to enjoy the scenes of the Georgetown waterfront district while enjoying an adult beverage.

The Georgetown City Council on Thursday gave initial approval to an ordinance that allows people to have beer or wine while sitting at an outdoor restaurant table on the city sidewalk. With little debate, the council unanimously approved the first reading. The second and final reading will be held at the next council meeting.

The only concerns raised Thursday were about how to ensure that patrons would not be allowed to walk around with the beverages in their hands. City staff said the ordinance and an amendment to the city's ordinance on outdoor cafes make that limitation very clear.

Councilwoman Peggy Wayne said she would like to see the ordinance include a provision that the area with tables be sectioned off so thatpatrons would know they cannot walk around.

But Mayor Jack Scoville said he didn't know how that would be enforced, and he thought it would be best to leave that to the restaurant owners.

Council members also asked why it only applies to beer or wine, but city administrator Chris Eldridge said that was part of state law.

A similar ordinance came before the council in 2002, but it was shot down in a 5-2 vote.

Also Thursday, the council formally awarded the bid for the renovation of the Harborwalk to M.B. Kahn, of Columbia, with a 5-2 vote. Kahn put in the lowest bid of $472,000 for the project that had a $600,000 budget.

Wayne said she voted against the bid because "I am opposed to the Harborwalk being redone." Councilwoman Jeanette Ard owns a business along Front Street and also voted against the bid.

Wayne said she was concerned about the appearance of the Harborwalk, since business owners would not be able to match the new railings.

"It's going to be a mixed-up mess," she said.

Wayne also said she agreed with the concerns raised during public hearing by resident Lee Padgett.

Padgett questioned whether the plans went through the proper channels since the Architectural Review Board did not review the plans. The board must approve changes in the city's historic district.

Former city planning director Rick Martin said that board at a recent meeting determined it should not consider the plans because the project was outside the historic district, which ends at the edge of the Sampit River.

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