Update (Friday, Oct. 14, 3:04 p.m.): The City Council on Oct. 11 adopted this ordinance allowing outdoor dining along commercial walkways, excluding upper Pier Avenue.
The on Tuesday night introduced a temporary ordinance that would allow local restaurant owners to offer outdoor dining along sidewalks, excluding upper Pier Avenue and Pier Plaza.
The temporary law would last for six months, until the helps draft a citywide permanent ordinance, which could include provisions for other outdoor items, such as displays or clothing racks.
Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Duclos was the only council member to vote against the temporary ordinance. He argued that city staffers didn’t supply the council with enough data (such as existing standards) to make an informed policy decision.
He repeatedly mentioned his fear that the temporary ordinance would become an ineffective permanent one.
"I can’t support this measure because it is rushed and it is pieced together, and it has gaping holes," he said.
In previous council meetings, business owners have told the council that the city’s "Clean Sweep" campaign had hurt business—prompting the temporary ordinance decision.
The campaign forced business owners over the summer to take down any items that were on public sidewalks if they had not paid the city liability insurance and held the proper permits.
Mayor Howard Fishman that the city initiated Clean Sweep because it received complaints from residents in wheelchairs who had issues traversing crowded sidewalks downtown, and the city feared being sued by pedestrians who might trip on the outdoor chairs and displays.
Now the temporary ordinance would allow restaurant owners to put tables and chairs outside as long as they leave 5 feet of sidewalk space for pedestrians and abide by other city regulations.
Many residents and small business owners have addressed the council in favor of not only outdoor dining, but also allowing businesses to put displays and signs on the sidewalk.
They argued that displays outside of shops help attract customers, thereby attracting additional revenue to the city through taxes.
"Having tables out and having restaurants be able to serve outside adds to the charm and ambiance that you guys have created in the development of Pier Avenue," said Mark Maniscalco, owner of the , on Tuesday.
"It would bring in more street traffic, it would be better for families and the extra width in the sidewalk seems like it would be able to permit that," Maniscalco told the council.
How would you like the city's permanent ordinance addressing sidewalk space and encroachments to look?