Understanding the politics of today by exploring the past.
Flagstaff Starts Leasing City Sidewalks To Outdoor Cafes
Some hotels and restaurants in downtown Flagstaff will have to start paying the city to lease sidewalk space for outdoor cafes. But, business owners said the fees are too high.
The Flagstaff City Council approved the resolution this week after learning the city does not comply with a state law that says cities cannot provide businesses with public property for free. Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours said the rates will be set within the next two weeks, but he said the handful of businesses that are not paying the fee right now will probably be charged $60 to $150 a month.
"We don’t want to make it a rate that will discourage the restaurants we actually want to encourage it, but we can’t give the use of the sidewalk away for free,” Nabours said.
Sam Green has owned the historic Weatherford Hotel since 1975, and she said the fees will be a financial hardship.
"I have pictures from 1905 of patio tables out on our sidewalk underneath our balcony. So, it’s been going on for a long time. Now we’re going to have to pay for it," Green said.
She said she does not plan to close her outdoor café, but she is frustrated because the city requires her to remove snow from the same sidewalks that it is leasing to her.