Add one more place to soon have a cup of coffee outside in downtown Birmingham.
Paris Baguette seeks to add several seats outside of its café at 183 N. Old Woodward. The café, which opened earlier this year serving up pastries and coffees, would add eight tables and 15 chairs outside along the sidewalk. A handicap accessible table would also be available, with the tables shaded by umbrellas.
“The site plan indicates that all of the chairs and tables will be within the frontage of their own tenant space,” said Brooks Cowan, a planner with the city. “The chairs and tables are made of metal and wood, and they are providing an outdoor refuse container as required.”
The plans were reviewed by the city’s planning board during its meeting Aug. 24. The biggest issue for the planning board with the new seating was that it would mean three restaurants in a row would have outdoor seating in along the sidewalk.
The new plans give about five feet and four inches of clearance between the Paris Baguette patio and the seats for Sweetgreen next four, which is four inches more than the required amount by the city. The seating would also need to remain in front of the restaurant to make sure that clearance is kept.
“You had 10 feet from the building of Paris Baguette to where they’re proposing their outdoor dining. So you have that transition that maintains day-to-day compliance,” Cowan said. “They need to keep their outdoor dining within the frontage of their space and make sure that five foot clearance is maintained.”
Representatives working on the project reiterated that fact, saying the outdoor patio would give plenty of clearance for pedestrians walking the sidewalk.
“We do not believe it will disrupt the flow of foot traffic in the area because there is that 10 feet from the aggregate to the building, which meets both your ordinance as well as building code, which the minimum is five feet,” said Catie Schmitz with JSN Architecture.
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Since the restaurant does not serve alcohol, the outdoor patio does not need to be enclosed.
The planning board voted unanimously to recommend approval of the plans, sending it to the city commission. Planning board member Daniel Share said he liked the way the patio was arranged and hoped it inspired other eateries in the city to do something similar.
“I appreciate the fact that the chairs are at least designed to be parallel to the walkway, other than the handicap table,” he said. “I think this is an good solution and one we may want to encourage our restaurateurs to adopt.”
Contact reporter David Veselenak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-678-6728. Follow him on Twitter @davidveselenak.