Tuesday, March 28, 2023

City Considers Ordinance Regulating Permit Process for Outdoor Dining

With construction underway on East Jackson Avenue to create more outdoor dining and shopping space, city leaders are reviewing the proposed permit process that would allow businesses to use the expanded sidewalks.

On Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen reviewed the first reading of an ordinance outlining the permit process for businesses that wish to take advantage of the expanded sidewalks for outdoor dining and retail opportunities.

The ordinance will go before the board for a second reading and public hearing at 5 p.m. on June 15 at City Hall.

The construction of the expanded sidewalks and streetscaping along East Jackson on the Square is expected to be completed in August.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants around the Square took advantage of the temporary outdoor dining options that were made available by the board.

“As a result of the success of this option, staff identified ways to make this temporary opportunity a more permanent reality through the development of a Shared Space Permit and Design Guidelines for these new amenities for downtown businesses,” said City Planner Ben Requet.

As stated in the proposed ordinance, businesses must apply for a revocable license that is approved by the mayor and Board of Aldermen before a shared space permit is approved. Once the revocable license is approved, an applicant may request a Shared Space Permit that, once approved, will be valid for 12 months and renewed annually.

The cost of the permit will be $50.

Businesses may expand into the sidewalk directly abutting their locations. Restaurants can use the space for outdoor dining, and retail stores can use it for outside sales, seating, or other uses.

Businesses requesting a permit will have to submit a design that must adhere to the Design Guidelines, which will be housed on the Planning Department website.

To read the entire ordinance and design guidelines, click here.