Business Owner Takes Action Against Smoking Ban
Planning and Zoning Commission hears proposal from bar owner to add outdoor patio.
The St. Louis County smoking ban went into effect on Jan. 2, and Florissant business owners are wasting no time looking for ways to keep their smoking patrons coming back.
At Monday night's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Gettemeier's Bar and Grill owner Jerry Gettemeier presented plans to allow smokers to return to his establishment. Gettemeier asked for an amendment to a special use permit, which would allow him to add an outdoor patio area to his bar and grill.
If approved, the patio area would be built onto the back of the business and would be available to patrons throughout the year. The patio would feature eight to ten tables for 30 to 40 people, an awning, and a flat screen TV with sound system.
Gettemeier said the plans and presentation arose from the need to compete with bars that have smoking exemptions.
The smoking ban, originally passed by the St. Louis County Council in 2009, prohibits smoking in public places within the county, with these exceptions:
- private clubs
- private residences
- designated smoke rooms
- Retailers who have 60 percent of the volume of trade is the sale of tobacco
- cigar bars
- casino gaming areas
- Bars can also be considered exempt if less than 25 percent of its revenue goes toward food
- Areas designated as smoking areas throughout Lambert Airport
"We felt [the patio is] necessary to remain competitive," Gettemeier said.
Gettemeier, who's been in business for almost 14 years, said he's already seen the impact in business since the smoking ban took effect. He said a regular group of 10 to 12 men would come in to have drinks and smoke cigarettes daily. As of Sunday, no one in the group has come to his bar.
Gettemeier said he hopes to open his patio by March, if he gets the approval he needs, and construction and weather permitting. The commissioners were not satisfied with Gettemeier's proposal and asked him for new plans before voting whether to send his request to City Council. Members expressed concern about how the addition would impact the number of parking spaces and asked for more details about access to the back door.
Commissioner Jane Boyle that the commission has begun to see a number of proposals for exterior additions.
"Everyone is doing outdoor areas," she said. "We have to look at these things very carefully. It's been done well. I just want to see it continued to be done well."
The commission decided to allow Gettemeier to represent his updated proposal at the commission's next meeting on Jan. 18.