Maple Grove updates temporary outdoor restaurant policy

Larry Wetternach

The Maple Grove City Council updated its policy for restaurants to use temporary outdoor service areas at its Oct. 19 meeting. The temporary policy was put in place this summer to allow restaurants to serve customers in a sit-down setting.

The council also recognized the retirement of Larry Wetternach.

TEMPORARY OUTDOOR PATIO AREAS

The council accepted a ratified policy for temporary outdoor customer areas for city restaurants.

In March, all bars and restaurants across the state were closed to dine-in business during the pandemic by an executive order. In June, Gov. Tim Walz allowed restaurants to open dining in outdoor areas, but with restrictions. Restaurant food service was eventually allowed in dining rooms, but with spacing restrictions.

This summer, the city created a policy outlining the acceptable uses for temporary outdoor use for customer service areas for restaurants. The policy helped define where outdoor uses could occur without interfering with parking, accessibility, nuisance issues, public safety and sanitation.

Now that winter weather has arrived, restaurants are creating outdoor service areas to withstand the elements, including the use of tents and heaters to extend the patio season.

The new ratified policy will allow the extension of the timeframe for when businesses can have temporary outdoor service areas until Aug. 31, 2021.

WETTERNACH RETIREMENT

Also during the meeting, the council recognized the retirement of Larry Wetternach.

Wetternach, who retired Oct. 9,  has served the city as an electrical inspector in the Building Department for the last eight years. He began working for the city part-time in 2012. Due to the increased demand for inspections, he began working full-time in 2013.  

Prior to joining the city, he was an electrician with Local 292 across the Twin Cities but worked primarily on major towers and condominiums in downtown Minneapolis. One of the more notable projects he worked on was the Norwest Center, a 57-story tower, which replaced the Northwestern National Bank that burned down Thanksgiving Day of 1982.

A staff report said, “Residents, contractors, and co-workers alike have appreciated Larry’s ability to educate and enforce the code to ensure life safety. Larry will be greatly missed, but we wish him the best in this next stage of his life.”

Mayor Mark Steffenson added, “He will be missed. We wish him the best in his retirement as well.”

OTHER

In other action, the council:

MENTIONED the bonding bill at the Minnesota State Capitol was approved. Part of that bill included Maple Grove projects — Highway 610 completion and the expansion of the North Metro Gun Range.

RECEIVED a feasibility report for the Fernbrook Lane/Territorial Road Project. The proposed project improvements along Fernbrook Lane between County Road 81 and Territorial Road, including a roundabout. The total estimated project cost is $639,000.

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