Iowa City City Council approves consideration to expand sidewalk cafe regulations

During Tuesday’s formal meeting, the council voted to move forward in their discussion of adding more sidewalk cafes to businesses around Iowa City.


Mark Fortunato

Iowa City Council listens to speaker at City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022

Sydney Libert, News Reporter

Iowa City businesses may see more outdoor eating options in the future.

The Iowa City City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the first consideration of an ordinance that would amend chapter 3, which would increase the number of establishments in the area to have sidewalk cafes. 

The Central Business zones and the Riverfront Crossings District are the only current locations of sidewalk cafes, but the new amendment would reach locations like Old Towne Village and Towncrest.

Councilor John Thomas was not present for the vote. 

In March 2012, the council first discussed an ordinance to bring sidewalk cafes to Iowa City that would reduce the required amount of sidewalk space between an alleyway and a restaurant to 2 feet. 

Later that year in October, the council unanimously voted to approve the resolution and permit businesses in the city to construct street cafes. 

RELATED: Iowa City City Council approves street cafes 

According to the executive summary of the council action report, the City Manager, or another designee, can impose restrictions, such as fewer hours of operation.

The council will discuss further considerations for the amendment in its upcoming meetings.

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