Thursday, 30 November 2023 15:25

City Council Considers Changing Outdoor Dining Rules

By Jonathon Norcross | Business
Outdoor dining in Saratoga Springs 2020 photo courtesy of Erin Maciel Outdoor dining in Saratoga Springs 2020 photo courtesy of Erin Maciel

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs City Council is considering changing the Spa City’s outdoor dining rules.

A proposed amendment from Accounts Commissioner Dillon Moran would allow businesses to operate seasonal sidewalk cafes similar to the temporary outdoor dining facilities made available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The revised ordinance put forward defines a sidewalk cafe as “any service of food and/or drink operated, in whole or in part, on a sidewalk or other public property of the City of Saratoga Springs.” The cafes would have to stop serving alcohol at 2am, and remove all patrons by 2:30am. Any music would have to end at midnight. The cafes would be allowed to operate from April 1 until November 1.

The proposal would amend several articles of Chapter 136 of the City Code. Commissioner Moran previously tried to extend the COVID-era outdoor dining rules until November 2024.

At a city council meeting on November 21, Saratoga resident Sam Brewer said he supported allowing outdoor dining year-round, but was concerned about sidewalk access and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The council plans to vote on amending the outdoor dining rules at a later, unspecified date.

Former Accounts Commissioner John Franck spearheaded the initial creation of outdoor dining rules designed to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions in 2020. Businesses were allowed to expand outdoor seating onto sidewalks, provided that an ADA-compliant 48 inches of pedestrian walkway was maintained.

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