Council ap­proves porch ad­di­tion at City Phar­macy

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - JACKIE GUTKNECHT jgutknecht@cov­news.com

With a unan­i­mous vote by the Cov­ing­ton City Council, down­town Cov­ing­ton’s new­est eatery will in­clude an out­door porch on a city side­walk.

The own­ers of City Phar­macy filed a re­quest to im­pede on the city’s side­walk to add a gated porch area to their build­ing. Once com­pleted, the porch will be con­sid­ered as an im­prove­ment to the build­ing and be­come tax­able prop­erty.

Dur­ing the work ses­sion prior to the council’s meet­ing, Cov­ing­ton Mayor Ron­nie John­ston en­cour­aged the council to think the de­ci­sion all the way through.

“I have had some con­ver­sa­tions with these folks,” he said. “And one of the things, I think, I just want to be honest with ev­ery­body, is this is a pretty good chunk of in­vest­ment he’s get­ting ready to make and he is plan­ning on fully serv­ing these ta­bles, which will in­clude open con­tainer and that means it will be com­ing up to us again to ap­prove that, like we have with ev­ery other res­tau­rant.

“I guess I just want to gen­er­ally talk about that from the stand­point of, ob­vi­ously, it’s been kind of an is­sue lately so I just want to be honest with him.”

Coun­cil­man Chris Smith told the mayor and council that he has not had an is­sue with restau­rants serv­ing al­co­hol.

“I’ve had no prob­lems in front of restau­rants as long as they’re on the pa­tio then I have no is­sue with it and we’ve al­ways voted to al­low it in front of a res­tau­rant,” Smith said. “I don’t see that it is an is­sue.”

Coun­cil­woman Hawnethia Wil­liams said she was only con­cerned about the porch im­ped­ing traf­fic flow on the side­walk, but she has since been as­sured that would not be an is­sue.

John­ston said he raised the con­cern be­cause he has pre­vi­ously heard council mem­bers say there is “too much al­co­hol on the square.” Smith and Coun­cil­man Michael What­ley said there has been a prece­dent set with other restau­rants on the square to al­low open con­tainer out­side of the restau­rants and this case would be no dif­fer­ent.

“We have a busi­ness per­son that is in­vest­ing into our square. With what hap­pened re­cently, they were ask­ing the ques­tion ‘Am I go­ing to be al­lowed to serve this?’ and I said, ‘You know we al­lowed all four of them (other restau­rants) so I don’t see how we can’t but the council can do any­thing it wants,’ so I just wanted to dou­ble-check this be­fore we say go ahead and invest sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars into a deck,” John­ston said. “But if y’all say this is a to­tally dif­fer­ent thing that’s fine.”

John­ston was re­fer­ring to a council meet­ing last month where, in a split vote, the council de­nied the first read­ing of three pro­posed or­di­nances, which would have al­lowed for cus­tomers to bring their own al­co­hol into Cov­ing­ton busi­nesses, busi­nesses to serve hos­pi­tal­ity drinks or hair sa­lons and spas to pro­vide drinks as part of a ser­vice pack­age.

Once con­struc­tion is fin­ished, the own­ers of City Phar­macy will have to come be­fore the council again for ap­proval on their al­co­hol li­cense.

Dar­ryl Welch | Cov­ing­ton News file photo

Con­struc­tion is un­der­way on the Cov­ing­ton Square for the new City Phar­macy.

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