The HDDC initially took up a request from April Azotea, owner of La Azotea Lounge, 323 North Main St., regarding the use of a portable bar on Thursday nights during the nearby Music Under the Stars events.

Issues dealing with the outdoor consumption of alcohol at downtown Hannibal establishments could wind up before the City Council after members of the Historic District Development Commission (HDDC) agreed Monday night they lack the jurisdiction to address public concerns.

The HDDC initially took up a request from April Azotea, owner of La Azotea Lounge, 323 North Main St., regarding the use of a portable bar on Thursday nights during the nearby Music Under the Stars events.

“This provides a fun and convenient atmosphere for customers to enjoy the music out of the sun,” she said.

While Azotea’s application only specified the use of the bar on Thursday nights, she explained that she also intends to use it during festivals and other events when people are downtown. She added that Thursday nights would be the only night when she would actually be having liquor at the outdoor bar.

“The rest of the time I will use it is a table for guests to sit at,” said Azotea. “Customers like to have that extra room because I don’t have that many tables and chairs (outside).”

Azotea stressed that her current wheeled outdoor bar was built to comply with city guidelines regarding available sidewalk space. The city ordinance requires that no more than one third of the sidewalk be obstructed, which amounts to 4 feet.

“There is enough room for a wheelchair to get through,” she said.

Mike Kettelkamp of the HDDC questioned how a wheelchair, or anything else, could have made it past Azotea’s lounge on a recent Thursday night.

“I was down there and the sidewalk was jammed around the bar. People could hardly get through,” he said.

Kristy Trevathan of the HDDC added that she had also heard complaints from people unable to use the sidewalk in front of Azotea’s business during a Music Under the Stars intermission.

“They had to literally walk in the street to get through,” she said.

Kettelkamp noted that when he parked next to Azotea’s outdoor bar his passenger was unable to get out of the vehicle.

“If you push it (bar) away from the curb and toward the building you will block the sidewalk even more,” he said.

Azotea said congested sidewalks are not exclusive to her business, offering to provide photographic evidence of people crowding sidewalks at other downtown establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold.

“I feel like I’m personally being attacked by certain individuals,” she said. “I’m not trying to be in violation of any ordinance. I was just trying to offer something fun and different.”

Kettelkamp suggested that the issues being discussed by the HDDC impact businesses along three blocks of North Main Street and not just Azotea’s lounge.

“The question of how we deal with all this activity on the sidewalks has been brought up, but that doesn’t come under our HDDC guidelines,” he said.

“The ordinances as far as selling liquor on the street and obstruction of the street, that’s all city (responsibility). It doesn’t really come under these (HDDC) guidelines,” added HDDC member Steve Ayers.

At that point the four members of the HDDC present approved a motion to take no action on the matter.

“We take no action because there is no action to be taken,” offered Sara North of the HDDC.

Commission members expressed the hope that the appropriate branches of the city will take the matter under review.

As for Azotea and her use of the portable bar on Thursday nights, Kettelkamp’s instructions were simple.

“Just continue to do what you’re doing,” he said.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com