The City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Monday night to regulate sidewalk cafes, including an annual $500 fee for a license.
There was no comment from council members, one of whom was absent, and no comments from citizens during the public hearing. The ordinance (0-19-12) now heads to the mayor’s desk for approval and will take effect 20 days after his approval.
Applications for a cafe license would be filed through the Zoning Officer and then reviewed by five city officials for recommendations: police chief, fire chief, health officer, construction official and city engineer. The $500 annual fee would cover the cost of the inspection and reviews of city officials.
Director of the Department of Building, Planning and Economic Development Richard Watkins told the governing body when it introduced the ordinance last month that the city needs a method to regulate and license the sidewalk seating because a private business would be operating in the public right of way, requiring indemnification to protect the city as well as neighbors.
The ordinance requires a minimum of six feet of paved sidewalk and would limit hours of operation to 10:30 p.m. on weeknights and 11:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and certain holidays. All furniture and related outdoor items would have to be would have to be secured within 30 minutes after closing the outdoor seating.