District News

Permanent Open Restaurants Text Amendment

Jul 13, 2021
rosa mexicano outdoor dining

Outdoor dining has proven to be a lifeline for many restaurants throughout the pandemic. The program is so successful that the New York City Council passed a bill calling for a permanent outdoor dining program. As part of that process, the Department of City Planning (DCP) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), under the direction of the Mayor, have proposed a zoning text amendment to remove geographic restrictions on where sidewalk cafés can be located within NYC.

Under the new program, restaurants would be required to meet various physical requirements to ensure that clear paths are maintained for pedestrians and that critical infrastructure such as fire hydrants remain unobstructed. Restaurants throughout the city would be allowed to have outdoor dining areas as part of the open restaurants program as long as they can meet these physical requirements.

The zoning text amendment is just one part of a series of actions that will be required to launch the permanent open restaurants program, which is scheduled to launch in 2023, according to DOT. Other steps, such as changes to local law, rulemaking, and determining the application process will need to take place prior to the program’s launch.

DOT is currently soliciting feedback for the Open Restaurants program on the Open Restaurants project page. To find other opportunities to share your input on the text amendment, visit the Zoning Application Portal for a list of upcoming public hearings. For more information about the Permanent Open Restaurants Text Amendment, visit DCP’s project page here.

Photo credit: Filip Wolak