New MainStrasse regulations to go into effect

MainStrasse, an old German neighborhood and a national historic district, is a collection of locally-owned businesses and restaurants in Covington, Kentucky. During the evening and into the night, the business district comes alive, abound with nightlife that has at times irked residents of the neighborhood. Complaints about excessive noise, litter and sidewalk access have only escalated over the years as the neighborhood matures and becomes more dense, and the Covington City Council is set on approving new regulations that may be approved next week.

Under the new regulations, both bars and restaurants could feature outdoor seating and tables on public sidewalks, but people would not be allowed to stand alongside diners to reduce pedestrian congestion. An earlier proposal would have barred bars from having outdoor seating, but it proved an unpopular option.

In addition, sidewalk service would need to cease by 12:45 A.M. every night of the week. The exception to this would be the Sixth Street plaza near the Goose Girl fountain, where service would stop by 10:45 P.M. Sunday through Thursday and by 11:45 P.M. on Fridays and Saturdays. Tables would then need to be removed within 15 minutes for all dates and locales.

Commissioners also decided to charge a fee of $40 per four-person table and $20 per two-person table, raising approximately $2,500 per year. The cost would go to the Covington Police Department, which would partially recoup the cost of street patrols that cost the department $25,000 annually. A higher fee was also considered.

Finally, violators of the new regulations could have their outdoor seating permit revoked.

This is a positive step in the right direction for the MainStrasse neighborhood, and is a sign that the district is maturing. The regulations would maintain peace in the residential neighborhoods that line the business district, introduce enforceable regulations and partially recoup the costs of police patrols that maintain a low crime rate for MainStrasse.