Michael Feker has requested permission to construct a backyard patio at his restaurant, Il MitoTrattoria & Enoteca , 6913 W. North Ave., which abuts a residential property.
The Plan Commission on Monday unanimously recommended that the eatery be allowed to offer outdoor seating from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. with the caveat that Feker install fencing and landscape both sides to serve as a buffer. The issue next goes to the Community Development Committee.
While the neighboring residents came to Monday's meeting to oppose the project, Alderwoman Linda Nikcevich said there are also objections among commercial neighbors.
"There is a lot of contention between all the businesses on the block," she said. "It's him versus everyone else."
She urged the business owners to better cooperate for the greater good of the North Avenue district. She called the patio "a great concept."
Since Il Mito opened a few years ago, surrounding business owners have taken Feker to task for patrons parking in front of their businesses and letting garbage pile up outside the building, both problems that Feker told the commission he has since rectified.
"I'm trying very hard to be a good neighbor as well," he said.
The patio is meant to add ambiance to the dining experience, not to simply provide more seating, Feker said. He plans to put landscaping, fountains and decorative lighting within the space. He also intends to play "light background music" from patio speakers.
Resident Paul Sommers asked the commission to hold Il Mito to the same restrictions as Cranky Al's, a restaurant with a patio that is allowed to stay open until 9 p.m.
The commission backed the later closing time because Juniper 61, which is a few blocks away, has an 11 p.m. patio closing time, and while that property abuts an alley, the distance between the restaurant and nearest residential property is smaller at Juniper 61 than Il Mito.
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