Outdoor dining, sidewalk sales could be permanent change in Barrington

Public hearing on proposed ordinance set for Dec. 6 council meeting

By Josh Bickford
Posted 11/30/21

The Barrington Town Council will hold a public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would allow the use of public sidewalks, rights of way, and private property for outdoor dining and sidewalk …

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Outdoor dining, sidewalk sales could be permanent change in Barrington

Public hearing on proposed ordinance set for Dec. 6 council meeting

Posted

The Barrington Town Council will hold a public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would allow the use of public sidewalks, rights of way, and private property for outdoor dining and sidewalk sales.

Barrington Town Council President Michael Carroll said the proposed ordinance stems from the town’s allowance of outdoor dining during the pandemic.

“This pandemic has forced all of us to innovate in a variety of ways,” Mr. Carroll said. “Outdoor dining is one of those innovations for Barrington. When the town allowed this and supported our restaurants with grants for heaters, it helped our local businesses to survive while giving us a safe (if temporary) return to pre-pandemic normalcy. It was a success and it just makes sense to make it permanent.”

The ordinance would require that local businesses and restaurants that want to offer outdoor dining or outside sales submit an application to the town manager. The application would be subject to review by the town’s zoning officer, police chief, and fire chief. Business owners could apply for an annual license or a temporary day or week license. 

The proposed ordinance includes a number of rules and provisions, ranging from the application requirements to the displays of merchandise for sale. 

“The goods, wares or merchandise in the display area shall not exceed a height of six feet,” stated the ordinance. 

The section governing outside dining has numerous provisions, including the need to screen the seating area from parking, sidewalks and streets “by a landscaping strip, plants or fencing at three to six feet in height.” 

It calls for litter and recycling containers to be present, and the maintenance of a 36-inch right of way on public and private sidewalks. 

“Outdoor sidewalk seating areas shall be distinguished from parking areas by solid, uninterrupted concrete or granite cubes and landscaping which physically separates the outdoor seating from parking,” stated the ordinance.

The ordinance calls for tables, chairs, racks and all merchandise to be removed from public sidewalks whenever the business is closed, and the allowable hours for outdoor dining and sales is 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays. 

There is also a provision stating: “Absolutely no alcoholic beverages are to be served on public sidewalks at any time.”

Mr. Carroll said that part of the ordinance was based on a concern for liability.

The public hearing is set for the council meeting on Dec. 6.

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