By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – With Mayor Joseph Peterson’s tie-breaking vote, an increasingly deadlocked City Council granted temporary outdoor cafe approval June 13 to Whiskeys on the Water in time for the Street Art Fair.
The mayor is allowed to cast a tie-breaking vote when the issue at hand is not financial, like the purchase or sale of property.
The annual city Street Art Fair, July 13 to 16, traditionally attracts large crowds – and potential customers – to the downtown.
Discussions at earlier council meetings have focused on whether a newly approved outdoor cafe would be grandfathered in under old rules currently being revised in response to resident concerns about noise, crowds, safety and other issues.
Councilman Leonard Sabuda’s motion, seconded by Councilman Kevin VanBoxell, granted an outdoor patio request through Oct. 31, subject to annual renewal.
Councilmen Sabuda, Don Schultz and VanBoxell voted in favor, with Council members Daniel Galeski, Sheri Sutherby-Fricke and Ted Miciura opposed. Peterson provided the tie-breaking vote to approve.
Highlights of the two-page resolution state the cafe must comply with all current zoning, and be in compliance with the May 17 site plans as indicated by Badrak Design Group.
Those plans utilized the four street parking spots on Oak Street north of the building.
The cafe hours will be 7 a.m. to midnight, March 15 to Oct. 31, with no music to be played after 10:30 p.m.
No product logos may be on umbrellas, and a fence and gate will be made of black decorative metal.
During public comment time before the vote, Whiskeys on the Water owner Joshua Cade said he feels like the bad guy amid the controversy that has split the council.
“I only want a good, dynamic, unique downtown Wyandotte,” Cade said. “That’s all I want. I mean, I am being ignored, called a disgrace. I’m appalled by what happened up here. But thanks to the ones that are standing up for me.”
He said the safety of an outdoor cafe is a priority for him.
“I don’t want anybody killed,” Cade said. “I don’t want cars driving into this thing. I mean, come on, guys, I am here to make it better.”
He said he is surprised by all that has happened with the council over the last few weeks, but he understands the rules and he doesn’t mind reapplying next year.
“If it doesn’t work, I don’t want it there,” Cade said. “If it is a danger, I don’t want it there. I really want to do a nice thing downtown.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at email@example.com.)