The public engagement process will continue into the new year. On November 18, 2021, the de Blasio administration announced the schedule for the Permanent Open Restaurant Program public engagement process. The proposed permanent open restaurant program will establish a new streamlined program for the creation, management and enforcement of sidewalk and roadway cafes operated by the Department of Transportation.
The first step in establishing a permanent open restaurant program requires a change in the zoning text to remove the geographic restrictions that limit where sidewalk cafes can operate within the city. This zoning text amendment recently passed the City Planning Commission and is currently at the City Council. After the zoning text amendment gets approved, agency rules and local law will need to be changed to establish the program. For CityLand’s prior coverage of the Permanent Open Restaurant program, click here.
To determine design guidelines, program rules and other points of the program, the City is requesting public feedback. The public engagement process will be a collaboration between the Department of City Planning and the Department of Transportation. A series of in-person and virtual events will be available for the public to ask questions and provide feedback.
DOT and City Planning will present to each of the Borough Boards in December and January and will share an overview of the program’s Design Guidelines Process and goals and ask for feedback. The schedule is:
– Queens: Monday, December 6th at 5:30 PM
– Brooklyn: Tuesday, December 7th at 6 PM
– The Bronx: Thursday, December 16th at 10 AM
– Manhattan: Friday, December 17th at 9:30 AM
– Staten Island: TBA
The first two virtual public roundtables will be on Tuesday, January 11th from 12 PM to 1:30 PM and Wednesday, January 12th from 6 PM to 7:30 PM. For further updates and scheduled dates, check the DOT Permanent Open Restaurant Program page here. The schedule will also be posted on NYC Engage.
A public survey is available to take here. New Yorkers are urged to respond by December 31st.
DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman stated, “The incredible success of outdoor dining shows how we can reimagine our streetscape to better serve our neighborhoods. We have learned so much about how to make this overwhelmingly popular program even better, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. We’re thrilled to start this robust conversation with the public to craft guidelines that will increase accessibility, safety and address concerns such as noise, hours of operation and sanitation.”
DCP Director Anita Laremont stated, “While helping us to recover from a devastating pandemic, the coming citywide Open Restaurants program is a key to helping us build healthier and safer shared streets, and stronger and vibrant communities. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Fill out the survey and get involved in designing rules that will shape the look and feel of outdoor dining in New York City.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)