by TaLeiza Calloway
Bello Cucina, an Italian restaurant, is one step closer to opening in St. Joseph, thanks to two approvals by the St. Joseph City Council. The business is scheduled to open April 23.
Council members approved a liquor license for the business April 5 and amended the city’s liquor ordinance to allow for the sale of liquor outdoors for the business. St. Joseph City Administrator Judy Weyrens said the ordinance requires a 6-foot screened fence be in place for outdoor liquor sales.
The restaurant developers requested the city reduce the height of the fence and not require that it be screened. They are willing to add large evergreens to provide some screening to their outdoor dining area, according to city documents. Elected officials voted 5-0 to reduce the height of the fence to 36 inches or 3 feet.
Weyrens explained during the meeting the fence height is in place as a precaution.
“It’s to prohibit the passing off of drinks,” Weyrens said. “It’s really a control issue.”
Council member Bob Loso said he was initially opposed to amending an ordinance with a project on the table. But after consulting neighboring property-owners, he was told they do not care about the change in height requirements, Loso told council members.
St. Joseph Police Chief Pete Jansky said because the business is primarily selling food, there was no problem with issuing the permit or revising the language of the ordinance.
“If it was a predominantly alcohol-(related) situation,” Jansky said, “then I would have some concerns, but I have none at this time.”