People who enjoy sitting out in front of the Swigwam to enjoy a drink only have 30 more days to do it.
The St. Pete Beach City Commission voted 3-2 on Tuesday to rescind the outdoor rights given to the Swigwam on Corey Avenue.
The call for a vote was brought up two weeks ago in the last city council meeting as a non-agenda topic. The commission posed that the outdoor seating provided a intimidating atmosphere and a public safety issue.
“I've talked to a lot of people who are intimidated going by there,” said Beverly Garnett, District 4 Commissioner.
Mayor Steve McFarlin put the issue to a vote to a divided city commission at Tuesday’s meeting.
“I've never seen a problem. To rescind (the sidewalk use), seems harsh,” said vice- mayor Marvin Shavian.
The Swigwam was originally allowed to use the seating when they first moved to Corey Avenue two years ago.
“What we did was bring bar room activity on the streets,” McFarlin said.
Rob Williams, owner of the Swigwam, was at the meeting and presented information supporting his business area, including photo comparisons of other businesses with outdoor seating.
Williams also said there were rarely anyone causing any sort of bar room activity outside of the Swigwam during the daylight hours.
“We offer a laid-back atmosphere. It's not crazy,” Williams said.
Williams offered up a poll that he took of the Corey Avenue businesses that numbered to two to one in favor of the Swigwam.
I think (the Swigwam) is exactly what Corey Avenue needs,” Williams.
McFarlin reasoned that Williams might gain business by keeping his customers inside the bar.
"I don't think what we're going to do is going to hurt you financially," McFarlin said to Williams.
Williams offered to turn the chairs to the side to so they wouldn’t be facing the street, but the Commission said the vote was set to happen.
"We tried something for you. You should be grateful for that," McFarlin said.
Before the vote occurred, audience members at the meeting tried to speak and were told by McFarlin that the issue was not up for public discussion.
The Swigwam has 30 days before the chairs have to be removed from Corey Avenue.