#SaveThePatio: Dallas Leader Says Bar Owners, Patrons Being Misled

DALLAS -- "It feels like the city is messing with our livelihood, I mean, in a nutshell."

That's how Fat Rabbit Kitchen and Bar Manager Anthony Ligawa described two proposed City Council amendments that would affect the way bars with patios do their business.

That's why #SaveThePatio exists. Their goal is to stop the city from doing both of those things.

First, they want to make sure bars and restaurants aren't forced to add parking based on their previously uncounted patio space. Right now, those establishments are required to have a certain number of parking spaces based off their interior occupancy, leaving outdoor areas uncounted.

Second, #SaveThePatio wants to keep bars across the city from having to pay for special permits if they want to stay open past midnight.

District 14 City Councilman Philip Kingston represents the area Fat Rabbit calls home, and it's fair to say he's not with the cause on this one.

"95% of them (#SaveThePatio supporters) are misunderstanding and overreacting, and I think 5% of them are actively misleading the other 95%," Kingston said.

So how does he reconcile changing parking rules to account for both inside and outside seating?

"It can't affect any operating business," he said. "That's one of the really specific pieces of misinformation that's being pushed."

The late night ordinance, like the one already active on Lower Greenville, could become reality to help neighbors keep the peace, but that raises a different point for Ligawa.

"To say that it's a noise complaint when this is actually a hot bed and the reason people want to frequent down here, it's the city, so I don't know where that comes from," he said.

With all this confusion, maybe it's actually conversation between the city and its citizens that needs saving.