Kozy wants outdoor smoke and drink permit
BY BRANDON STAHL NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER Drive by the Kozy Bar and Apartments on 129 E. First St. in Duluth and you'll often see people standing outside smoking. The bar wants to give those people an official place to smoke as a first step towa...
BY BRANDON STAHL
NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Drive by the Kozy Bar and Apartments on 129 E. First St. in Duluth and you'll often see people standing outside smoking. The bar wants to give those people an official place to smoke as a first step toward obtaining an outdoor drinking permit.
The Kozy's assistant manager, Tom Cox, said he applied for the permit after the City Council granted permission for Mitch's Bar & Grill to open an outdoor area where people can eat and smoke, a move the business made following the statewide smoking ban that went into effect in early October.
Cox said he was advised by the city's planning department to first seek approval for the smoking permit and then apply for a permit that will allow outdoor drinking, both of which have to be approved by different commissions before they're heard by the council.
Eventually, he'd like to have two tables on the sidewalk in the front entrance of the bar that seat a total of eight people. Those tables would be cordoned off on the sidewalk by a theater rope.
"Right now there are people out on the sidewalk all hours of the day and night and they're not contained," Cox said. With the outdoor area, he said, "there will be a modicum of control where there is none."
When Mitch's Bar & Grill, in West End/Lincoln Park, got approval for outdoor seating, the vote was 5-4, with opponents saying it could set a precedent for other bars to ask for outdoor drinking.
A council committee of the whole meeting on Monday, Nov. 5 at 5:30, will discuss outdoor drinking.
"I think it's good public policy to develop a standard we are going to use apply equally across the board in which we identify the different standards and factors that will determine our decisions," said At Large Councilor Don Ness.
While the Kozy's permit petition will be read before the council on Monday, councilors likely won't vote on it until its next meeting on Nov. 13. The Kozy's owners face an uphill battle. Councilor Jim Stauber, who voted for Mitch's outdoor permit, said he likely wouldn't vote for the Kozy to get one, due to the bar's reputation as the site of numerous police calls.
"It doesn't seem to follow the rules as far as patrons taking drinks out the front door," he said. "If you have a good record of monitoring and making sure [your bar] hasn't become an issue, then why should I have an issue?"
But Cox said that all bars and restaurants in Duluth should be treated fairly regarding an outdoor drinking permit. If the council doesn't approve the Kozy's permit, "it could be argued as discrimination against the mom and pop bar," Cox said.
BRANDON STAHL covers the Duluth community and city government. He can be reached weekdays at (218) 720-4154 or by e-mail at email@example.com