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Fresh food, al fresco

NORTH LIBERTY– Another North Liberty restaurant will soon offer outdoor dining.
The North Liberty City Council supported a proposed revision to the property at 405 N. Dubuque Street, the location of the popular dining spot occupied by Red’s Alehouse. Owners Matt and Faye Swift have asked to build an outdoor dining area in the point area between Main Street and Dubuque Street.
“The proposal is for a highly developed area,” City Planner Dean Wheatley told the council last Tuesday, June 9. “There will be a gas fire pit feature, trees, and up-lighting.”
The entire area will be fenced for a more intimate setting, Wheatley added, and so no adjacent neighbors will be disturbed.
The Swifts must obtain approval from the Board of Adjustment to vary the height of the fence, and because a portion of the property already in use infringes on a city right-of-way, they must also be willing to sign an agreement with the city for continued use.
“The outdoor music will be kept at a conversational level, and the outdoor lighting directed away from adjacent properties,” said Wheatley. “Nothing will spill over.”
The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the proposal, also with conditions that the Swifts sign a waiver of liability for the right-of-way area, and that the city maintain full discretion over that portion of the property.
Council member Jim Wozniak said he thought the conditions were appropriate.
“I hope the Board of Adjustment makes (these conditions) part of the Conditional Use (permit). It comes out of a history of dealing with outdoor food and restaurants. It takes in all of the problems we have had in the past, and any other business we could foresee in the future,” said Wozniak.
Council members Coleen Chipman and Chris Hoffman offered positive comments about the planned dining area.
“I want to thank them (the Swifts); what they have done so far on that property has been outstanding, and what we are seeing here is going to be great,” Hoffman said.
Chipman agreed.
“This is another very attractive addition for North Liberty,” she said. “I think it will get people out into the community.”