Rafters special use permit heads to council


The Stillwater City Council holds an Aug. 21 public hearing on Rafters special use permit for a rooftop serving area.


Stillwater Ward 1 Councilman Doug Menikheim filed an appeal recently of Rafters Food and Spirits special use permit for a rooftop deck to bring the issue before the council.

Special use permits usually go through the city planning commission and are decided there, but Menikheim believes the Rafters request is something council should vote on.

“I felt that a decision of this magnitude is something rightfully decided on by a full city council because it’s a matter of accountability,” he said. “Were something to happen on a rooftop bar while people were drinking and the city council did not have a say in it we would not do our position justice.”

A public hearing Menikheim’s appeal of Rafters special use permit is schedule for the Aug. 21 council meeting.

Menikheim’s concerns stem from his Navy background. He worked with sailors in the 21- to 35-year-old demographic and said he was very aware of actions that this group would take when too much alcohol is in their system.

“If this demographic is on a roof 43 feet in the air, bad things can happen. People can fall off roofs and people can get hurt by things falling from a roof.” he said, “These things that could happen would not benefit Stillwater’s reputation.”

When asked about the conditions cited in the special use permit that were included to prevent such a thing Menikheim responded: “No condition will deter a drunk. You can make every possible condition you can think of. Based on my experience, someone who is inebriated isn’t going to care about conditions.”

The permit for Rafters rooftop deck that was approved by the Planning Commission took more than four months for the panel to OK. It included a full study and collaboration with the city, planning commission, and Rafters owner Larry Cramer.

“Mr. Menikheim waiting until the eleventh hour (to come in and file appeal) doesn’t compute with me because he was a part of the process,” Cramer said. “But I am confident that once we present everything we’ve been doing, including a presentation of the framework of the policy with rooftop decks, that the council will agree with me.”