DETROIT (WWJ) – The city of Detroit is backtracking on an earlier decision to deny all patio permits for businesses along the M-1 light rail project route. And though it’s good news for restaurants along the three-mile stretch of Woodward, at least one business owner affected says the issue was mishandled by the city.

Grand Trunk Pub owner Tim Tharp was told in April that he could not open his Woodward patio for the spring and summer; a decision he says would have cost him about 30 percent of his business.

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As a result, he scaled back hours for some employees.

“For three weeks now, we’ve thought, ‘we’re not going to be able to do that’ we had to lay people off that we had hired and then all of a sudden someone calls up and says ‘oh, just kidding, go ahead, you can open your patio now,’ so now we have to go through re-hiring – people are asking if they can work those hours,” Tharp told WWJ’s Violet Ikonomova.

The city says the decision was made before it knew when the M-1 light rail project would break ground.

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“We can issue the patio permits through July, then we can extend them on a month to month basis,” said Detroit Public Works Director Ron Brundidge.

Tharp says the late notice cost him a month of extra business.

“For a small business owner that operates on the thinnest of margins, actually in downtown Detroit, where everyone knows the kind of things they are dealing with – with the lack of police protection, lack of public service, that’s just a huge waste of time, money and energy that should be spent building a business.”

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That tentative date construction is now set for August.