Police in Mankato, Minnesota, recently shut down the sidewalk patio of a restaurant there because it contained no live plants. In an ordinance passed last summer, the city of Mankato required that at least 25 percent of such areas be covered by live plants.
City Manager Pat Hentges told the Star Tribune the landscape edict, which didn’t go into effect until this past May 25, is an effort to improve the downtown area’s overall aesthetics.
The patio outside the Blue Bricks restaurant was inspected by police three days after the deadline for compliance with the city ordinance.
The restaurant’s owner, Marty Lewis, told the Mankato Times police came to the restaurant about 5:30 p.m. and told him he had to close the patio. Lewis herded his customers inside and explained why. “People were laughing when I told them,” Lewis told the local newspaper. “We then had to remove the furniture from the patio and close it off until the plant police said it was OK for us to reopen.”
Lewis installed landscaping materials and city officials cleared the Blue Bricks’ patio to reopen the following day.