City Council to amend sidewalk cafe regs

City Council introduced changes to the city’s two-year-old sidewalk cafe ordinance, including a reduction in the seasonal fee from $500 to $20.

sidewalk cafe:parklet
This is not a sidewalk cafe but a “parklet,” set up in a parking space.

The changes are modeled after ordinances in other towns and aims to streamline the process, City Administrator Cherron Rountree said in a brief interview after the ordinance (O-18-15) was introduced at the July 13 City Council meeting.

Two years ago, the governing body established a sidewalk cafe ordinance that included a $500 application fee.

In addition to dropping a zero and then some from the application fee, the latest changes require the zoning officer to refer proposed layout plans to the municipal planner and municipal engineer for review and recommendations for approval. The previous ordinance (O-19-12) stipulated that applications and layout plans be reviewed by the police chief, fire chief, health officer, construction official and municipal engineer.

Another change is reducing from 6 feet to 5 feet the amount of paved sidewalk that is to remain for exclusive use of pedestrians.

The latest amendment also sets a season for outdoor sidewalk cafes, running from May 1 to Nov. 1. All licenses will be issued annually starting in January. Licenses can be renewed annually by filing an application.

The ordinance will come up for a public hearing and final adoption at the Aug. 10 City Council meeting.
UPDATED: City Council unanimously approved the measure at its Aug.  10 meeting.
NOTE: This ordinance addresses sidewalk cafes, essentially tables and chairs set up on the sidewalk by a local restaurant, which would pay the $20 application fee. This is different from the parklets you might see near some restaurants, which are setup by the city.

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