Cisero’s tangles with City Hall as Main Street dining decks installed
A Main Street restaurateur this week built dining decks on stretches of street outside his two establishments, becoming the first to do so, in what is a dramatic change to the streetscape of the popular dining, shopping and entertainment strip.
Construction crews hired by Stephen McComb were seen working on the decks, which are made of redwood and cedar, outside Cisero’s and Bistro 412 starting in the middle of the week.
Early on they looked like flat stages, but the workers later added features to the design. They will both be painted to match the colors of the restaurants. McComb hoped to finish painting and staining them Friday.
The Cisero’s deck measures 32 feet by 9 feet, enough for 11 tables, and the one outside Bistro 412, where seven tables will be placed, is 20 feet long and nine feet wide, according to McComb.
"Summer on Main Street needs to be revitalized," McComb said, arguing that Main Street needs to better compete with outlying business districts and adding that customers enjoy dining al fresco. "In the summertime, if the weather’s nice, people don’t want to eat indoors. They want to eat outdoors."
He said the restaurants on Main Street that have tables outside already are popular. People, though, want more outdoor seats, he said. Some of the street’s restaurants have long had decks or patios where dining is allowed, but other restaurants are in buildings situated at the edge of the sidewalk, meaning there is little space for outdoor seating.
McComb proceeded with the construction without the necessary permits from City Hall, according to municipal officials. The Park City Council approved agreements to allow McComb to occupy part of the street, subject to conditions, but he was then required to receive permits from City Hall staffers prior to construction.
The Planning Department indicated it did not receive completed applications for the decks before construction started and there was supposed to be a 10-day window to allow public comments between the filing of the applications and the granting of the permits. There were meetings between the sides to try to clear up the matter.
Main Street businesses especially in the last decade have been more aggressive as they bid to attract more summertime business to complement the crowds that descend on the street during the ski season. Dining outside has been of interest for years, but the street’s narrow sidewalks and having just two traffic lanes have proved problematic.
The Historic Main Street Business Alliance, a group representing the street’s interests, is pleased with the appearance of the dining decks. Alison Butz, the group’s executive director, said they are a "new try on an old idea."
"We’re hoping it brings vitality and atmosphere, that it will draw more people to dine on Main Street," Butz said.
Butz said she is aware of five or six other restaurants interested in dining platforms and she expects at least two of them could proceed with them this year.
"Summers are so nice and so mild," Butz said. "You’re cooped up so much of the year."
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