A theatre in Marietta was recently denied the request to add tables and chairs in front of the building.
An article in the Marietta Daily Journal said the committee decided not to make the changes to the city’s outdoor seating ordinance because if they allow one business to do it, then they would have to allow all businesses to do it.
The city committee said that it would set a precedent after a request from The Earl Smith Strand Theatre to add tables and chairs in front of the 1930s-era building, according to the article. Presently, the city only allows restaurants that receive more than half of their annual revenue from food and drink sales to place dining tables outside of their establishments.
According to the article, Andy Gaines, facilities and events coordinator for The Strand, asked the city’s Judicial/Legislative Committee last week for permission to place the tables and chairs in front of the theater.
The Strand has rooftop space where it hosts events, but it does not receive most of its revenue from selling food.
“The Strand wants to provide outdoor seating to complement the indoor amenities of the theater. Whether it’s during intermission for a show, before a concert or during a special event, we want our patrons able to sit a moment outside with popcorn and a drink and fully take advantage of the beautiful sidewalk expansion that the city of Marietta has created,” the MDJ reports Gaines said in an email. “We don’t see it as being any different than sitting outside with a coffee, ice cream or piece of cake.”
Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly told the MDJ it would be unfair of the council to grant a variance to the theater and then deny other non-restaurant businesses that may make similar requests.
Other council members said the concern is in keeping with the Square’s ambiance, but that The Strand is one of the few organizations on the Square that serves a large amount of food/drinks without it being the main source of revenue, and that distinction warrants a second look at the request.
Lucky Draw Tattoo near the Square reportedly made a similar request last June that also was shot down.