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February 12, 2013 | 03:58 PM
Outdoor cafe dining is returning to downtown Lake Geneva.

But some of the rules have been changed and clarified.

The Lake Geneva City Council on Monday approved several changes to the city's streets, sidewalks and other public places of the Lake Geneva Municipal Code.

Initial comments were taken during a public hearing before council on Jan. 28.

The changes generally follow the recommendations made by restaurateurs and business owners.

Among them:

n Alcohol may be served outdoors until 11 p.m. with all alcohol removed or consumed by 11:30 p.m. Sidewalk cafes close no later than midnight.

Last year, sidewalk cafes had to stop serving alcohol by 9 p.m.

As a backup to the above change, the amended ordinance requires that food must be served as long as alcohol is served.

n Outdoor cafes will no longer have to take their tables and chairs indoors overnight during the summer tourist season.

However, the owners must ensure that their outdoor furniture and fixtures are "properly secured" against wind and theft during closing hours. Owners will be responsible for damage caused by unsecured tables and chairs "regardless of fault."

n Before, outdoor dining was banned during cold weather. Now, from Nov. 1 to April 30, tables and chairs may be brought out for serving guests during unseasonably warm weather, but they must be removed at night.

"If we have an 80-degree global warming day in March and they want to bring out the tables and chairs, they could do that," said Mayor Jim Connors.

But it will have to be a natural warm spell. Outdoor heating devices are not allowed.

n For aesthetic purposes, bright primary colors, red, blue and yellow, are not allowed on the outdoor furniture, fixtures or umbrellas.

Originally, the amendment read: "red, blue, green and yellow," but Connors, who admitted to not being an artist, nonetheless said he remembered that the primary colors are red, blue and yellow.

The council voted to remove green from the list.

Also banned was black, but Alderman Gary Haugen pointed out that black is such a basic color that banning it is almost pointless. The council agreed. Black was also removed from the banned list.

In addition to the forbidden primary colors, the ordinance also bans "day glow" or neon colors. If those bright, non-natural colors are part of a corporate theme or logo, the colors should be muted.

n No matter the color, signs or furniture may not be attached to public amenities such as light poles, trees, planters, benches and street signs.

n Permits were valid between May 1 and Oct. 31. New permits will be valid from July 1 to June 30. During the transition, permits will be extended by resolution, Connors said.

The charge for a permit will be set by resolution, a change from last year's $15 per seat.

n Owners will have to submit an amended application and plan before changing the layout of the outdoor dining area, or adding seats. The changes must be approved by the director of public works and the police chief.

In other business:

The city council approved buying six new kiosks, three for parking and three solely for dispensing beach passes.

Total cost will come to $62,559 for the kiosks. City staff is recommending that the total amount spent should not exceed $66,000, including installation.

The decision to buy the additional kiosks goes back to last year, according to a memo from City Administrator Dennis Jordan.

Jordan wrote that the Lake Geneva Parking Commission decided in January 2012 to add metered parking to Wisconsin and Dodge streets between Broad and Center streets.

The city council's committee of the whole agreed with the recommendation, but decided to wait a year to see how the system worked.

The parking commission recently reasserted that it wanted the additional metered park, Jordan wrote. In an interview later, Jordan said 14 new metered spaces will be on Wisconsin and 21 new metered spaces will be on Dodge.

At the recommendation of the Lake Geneva Piers, Harbors and Lakefront Committee, three more kiosks will be used solely for selling beach passes.

Funds for the kiosks will come out of the parking fund and the lakefront fund, Jordan said.

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