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Downtown Restaurant Owners Avoid Paying Higher Fees

Sidewalk cafe ordinance not passed

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Stamford, CT | Added on April 30, 2015 At 10:00 PM

After months of discussion, a decision was made on an ordinance that would require downtown restaurants to pay higher fees for their outdoor sidewalk cafes. Currently, restaurants pay a $100 application fee for outdoor seating, a policy that’s been in place for about 30 years. The new ordinance suggested charging an additional $1 per square foot for 2016 and then $2 per square foot for every year after.

A group of downtown restaurant owners expressed their concerns Wednesday at a public hearing held by the Board of Representatives. Saying it would hurt businesses that are already struggling and put the downtown at a competitive disadvantage. Another argument made was the existence of outdoor cafes outside the downtown they may lack the proper permits. Some Board Members said there needs to be better regulation in place for outdoor seating in the city. 

After much discussion, the ordinance wasn’t passed, with 3 members voting in favor of it and 5 voting against it. Board member Eileen Heaphy, who voted in favor of the ordinance, says she was surprised at the outcome. “Now that most of the permits are lined up for this season, maybe it is time to step back and take a more careful look at the whole situation,” she said. 


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