Though conditions may seem tight on Main Street, with sidewalk dining sometimes crowding the narrow sidewalks, no establishments have been found to be in violation of Village Code.
There was a police blotter entry a few weeks back that listed several restaurants – , , – questioning the legality of their outdoor dining. But according to Village Administrator Mike Blau these establishments all were found to have the proper permits with none in violation of the local law.
"A call was received that the particular locations did not have a sidewalk café permit," said Blau. "All of the establishments had a permit. Police Department found no issues."
Nonetheless (and due to reader request), we thought a code review might be in order. One woman fell into trash on the sidewalk a while ago when she stepped back to take a photograph, and several others have protested that some areas are just too tight on already tight sidewalks.
According to Chapter 247 on Sidewalk Codes and Vending, the laws regulating sidewalk dining are meant to provide space for pedestrian passage, sufficient access to adjacent businesses, all while keeping a “visually appealing” presentation.
By definition, a sidewalk café is:
An outdoor dining area located on a public sidewalk, which is public through dedication or easement, or a public right-of-way that provides waiter or waitress service and contains readily removable tables, chairs and railings and may contain planters. It is otherwise unenclosed by fixed walls and open to the air, except that it may have umbrellas.
There can, by code, be no permanent structures dilineating the outdoor space, but planters or rails can be used as a barrier.
Vendors are required to secure a permit for the privilege of sidewalk usage, available for the period from April 1 through November 30.
Permits can be issued as long as the distance from the sidewalk abutting the property to the curbline is at least 10 feet.
And, most importantly, there are rules regarding the minium "clear distance" for passage.
Width of Sidewalk Minimum Clear Distance (feet) 10 feet to 14 feet 11 inches 3 15 feet to 19 feet 11 inches 5 20 feet and above 10
There shall be a minimum clear distance, exclusive of the area occupied by the sidewalk cafe, free of all obstructions (such as trees, parking meters, utility poles, streetlights, etc.) in order to allow adequate pedestrian movement. The minimum amount of clear distance is noted below:
Finally, the applicant must file a $1 million dollar general liability insurance policy and close the sidewalk portion of their business by midnight each night.
Have you found the restaurants on Main to abide by the 3 feet minimum or have you experienced otherwise? Any complaints with sidewalk dining in the village, or do you just enjoy it? Weigh in here.