Our local news partner, TheSunBreak broke this story about an unfortunate squabble. The 5Point has applied for a small area of outdoor seating and was approved by the city. However, a small group of condo owners from across the street has filed an appeal. To add to my disbelief, Tilkum Place Cafe has also jumped on board with an appeal, claiming that the 5Point’s scary customers will drive away their business.
There is nothing wrong with outdoor seating. People socializing on a patio create a vibrant atmosphere. It’s a perfect spot for tourists and locals to congregate. The naysayers who think this is the demise of Seattle culture ought to remember that this has been working out just fine for many European cities for damned near centuries.
It’s impossibole to walk through Chief Seattle park, where the 5 point is located, and not dream of how amazing this little slice of Seattle could be, if it were allowed to transform and mature into a real area of vibrancy
If you agree – Dave needs your help – send him a letter of support to firstname.lastname@example.org.
read more at TheSunbreak
read Dave’s letter below…
About a year ago, we at The 5 Point started a process to get outdoor seating in front of the 5 Point. At the suggestion of the Mayor, this seating extends out into Tilikum Place park (which is actually not a park but a pedestrian right of way controlled by the Seattle Department of Transportation). The Parks department and SDOT agreed this would be a great thing, and Mayor McGinn also said he’d like to see Seattle’s core urban parks get more outdoor seating in order to activate the parks and make the safer – more people using the park, the safer it is.
In December we were granted our permit. The outdoor seating area extends 20 feet out from the front of the 5 point and is about 16 feet wide. Not a large area, but good sized for a sidewalk cafe. We thought we were ready to move forward. This area would bring more people to the park, and sitting in it you can see the water, the Space Needle, the Monorail, and the statue of Chief Seattle. Very cool.
It then came to our attention that the permit was being appealed. Surprisingly, one of the two appeals is coming from a neighboring business, the Tilikum Place Cafe. We feel our outdoor seating will benefit them as we draw more people to the area, and like in Europe, they could also set up a food cart in the park and make money as well. We offered to work with them to do so, and to promote this special little corner of Belltown as a place for people to come eat and drink. Their complaint though, is that the 5 Point’s customers are a negative impact on the community, will scare away their customers if allowed to be outside, and so we shouldn’t be allowed to have outdoor seating.
The other complaint came from a few condo owners across the street from the 5 Point. They also dislike the 5 Point, criticize if for being a bar (??) and are worried about noise. So we agreed to close the outdoor seating at 10pm. That is not enough for them as they would like to see us not have outdoor seating at all.
Now the City wants us to meet with this tiny minority of the neighborhood to discuss shrinking our outdoor seating, or possibly agreeing to do away with it. We have agreed to meet with neighbors, but feel this small group of people do not represent the whole neighborhood, and have asked to open that meeting up to other neighbors who support the outdoor seating. We’re waiting to hear back from the City about next steps.
In the meantime, we need your letters of support. Basically they need to say that you live in, work in or regularly visit the neighborhood, that you support the permit for the outdoor seating for the 5 Point the way it is written, that the people opposing it do not represent a majority of the neighborhood or you. Email that letter to us at email@example.com and we’ll forward to all the various people at the City. If you include your address it helps even more.
Thanks for your support, and when we get the permit we’ll have a little party you’ll be invited to!
David, Mandy and Oly