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Council approves streeteries, parklets policy

More outdoor dining could become available this summer with the Minot City Council’s approval Monday of a streeteries and parklets policy.

Streeteries and parklets are platforms with fencing on three sides that extend from a downtown sidewalk’s curb into a parallel parking space in front of the owner’s property. Both allow for outdoor seating, and streeteries also allow for dining. The platforms can be in place from April 15 to Oct. 15.

Jonathan Rosenthal, economic developer for the City of Minot, said the concept has been used across the country, including in Grand Forks. Two Minot businesses and possibly a third are planning streeteries this summer if approved by the city, he said.

Rosenthal said the city sacrifices no revenue in allowing a parking space to be dedicated to a streetery or parklet, which is a mini-park concept. City staff would incur some administration time, but there would be inspection, building permit and encroachment permit fees the city would collect annually.

“You’ve hit the ground running with your new position, and I appreciate it. This is exactly one of the things I was looking forward to with the addition of this position in the city,” council member Carrie Evans told Rosenthal. “So I love it and I can’t wait to see more things like this.”

“As simple as this concept may be, this is not an easy lift to make sure that it fits for our community, and Jonathan has done exactly that, along with other departments,” council member Paul Pitner said. “This is such a neat idea. It can be such a game-changing element for downtown and other businesses. I’m excited about this. I’m supportive of this. These are the ideas that we just haven’t had coming into our community.”

Calling the project a “breath of fresh air,” he added, “This could be the seed that’s planted that maybe changes downtown.”

Pitner said passage of the policy also is a call for local entrepreneurs to create businesses to design, build and caretake these spaces for the adjacent property owners.

Council member Mark Jantzer said the requirement for parallel parking in front of the business eliminates a good part of downtown because of diagonal parking on one side of the street. He encouraged efforts to develop a feasible plan to allow streeteries in diagonal parking spaces.

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