NYC Sets New Rules for Outdoor Dining, Plans to Limit Roadbed Structures

Key Takeaways:

– NYC Administration limits the presence of roadbed dining structures to eight months a year.
– New rules demand accessibility for disabled New Yorkers and adhere to specific dimensions.
– Deadline for applying for a permit or removing outdoor dining setups is August 3.
– The rules are expected to take effect from March 3.
– A four-year license for sidewalk seating would cost $1,050.
– Despite the rules, outdoor dining popularity has risen by nearly 24%.

New York City Finalizes Outdoor Dining Rules

In a recent development, Mayor Adams’ administration is pushing towards limiting the presence of roadbed dining structures in New York City. They have finalized a fresh set of rules for an outdoor eating program, only permitting these dining structures for eight months of the year.

Key Features of the New Rules

New city rules dictate that street dining structures should not be fully enclosed. They must also be accessible for disabled New Yorkers and abide by certain dimension specifications based on their location. According to the newly released guidelines, roadbed structures can’t be longer than 40 feet or wider than 8 feet. Moreover, outdoor dining will now be allowed until midnight, seven days a week.

Feedback and Implementation

In the course of rule-making, the administration took into account the suggestions from restaurant owners and residents. The finalized regulations are scheduled to commence on March 3. However, restaurants that currently have operational outdoor dining structures must apply for a permit or dismantle their setups by August 3.

Developed by the Transportation Department after negotiating a deal with the Adams administration and the City Council, these guidelines aim to expand outdoor dining while limiting street shed use.

Impact of the New Regulations

The roadbed dining structures, permitted for free during the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit helpful to numerous restaurants, have been a cause of concern. Issues such as pests, space annexation meant for parking, and challenges with unruly bike traffic were observed.

The new compromise aims to boost restaurant business and continue the flourishing outdoor dining trend, especially in the outer boroughs, while reducing unsightly and disruptive sheds that have been vexing to Manhattan residents.

Under the new regulations, restaurants have the freedom to decide whether they want to dismantle and then rebuild the structures every year. The program is expected to roll out next month.

Mayor Adams’ Stance and Future Plans

Mayor Adams, in his statement, mentioned his administration’s investment in “public realm projects” across the city, intending to transform what it feels like to be outside in New York.

Today, around 13,000 restaurants are part of the city’s outdoor dining program, a significant leap from approximately 1,000 before COVID, as per the Transportation Department. The department also announced plans to launch a portal for restaurants to apply for licenses from March 4, with a four-year license for sidewalk seating priced at $1,050 and roadbed permit costs varying by size and location.

Andrew Rigie, Head of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, voiced his industry’s anticipation for the finalized rules and expressed optimism for the new program’s impact on countless restaurants across the city’s five boroughs.

Popularity amid Regulation

Despite the new regulations, outdoor dining continues to rise in popularity. Last spring and summer, the rates of outdoor dining increased by roughly 24%, even when total dining remained flat, according to research by the OpenTable reservation app.