The City Council will begin reviewing legislation next week to create a permanent outdoor dining program for the Big Apple’s struggling restaurant industry.
The new measure would establish rules and permit procedures — which will be overseen by the city’s Department of Transportation — for restaurants seeking to use portions of sidewalks and curbside parking outside their businesses for set up tables and chairs and serve food and drinks to customers.
It would replace a similar temporary program then-mayor Bill de Blasio put in place in June 2020 to help save restaurants after the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered indoor restaurants across the city.
Councilwoman Marjorie Velázquez (D-Bronx), who sponsored the bill to change the law at Mayor Adams’ request, told The Post her goal was to “streamline” and simplify the process so that more people restaurants are getting outdoor dining permits while making them “cheaper”. prohibitive” and more accessible.
More than 12,100 restaurants are currently participating in the temporary program.
“My commitment is to keep New York City vibrant,” said Velázquez, chair of the Committee on Consumer and Worker Projections.
The committee will hold a remote public hearing on Tuesday where stakeholders will have the opportunity to testify on how it could be improved before the full council votes on a final plan at a later date.
Under the current proposal, restaurants seeking licenses to operate outdoor restaurants would have to pay $1,050 each and then pay a renewal fee of $525 after a period yet to be determined. It also puts in place various safety measures and other restrictions for pop-up outdoor dining venues to follow, including a ban on the use of billboards.
A permanent outdoor dining program drafted by the de Blasio administration was approved by the Planning Commission last November, but it never reached Council for a vote before the time-limited mayor left office. at the end of the year.
The city says outdoor dining has saved some 100,000 restaurant jobs that otherwise would not have survived the pandemic.
However, the outdoor dining sites face vocal opposition in some neighborhoods, where residents complain of rats, wasted parking spaces and other quality of life issues. Some two dozen residents of Manhattan and Brooklyn filed a lawsuit to stop the program from being made permanent.
New York Post