Downtown Washington restaurants now have a process to go through if they want to have outdoor seating. The Washington City Council made final approval Wednesday of the Sidewalk Cafe Ordinance, which establishes a permitting process for restaurants that want to use the public space in front of their buildings for serving food and drinks.
Here are a few of the rules. If a restaurant wants seating for more than four people, then they must have a durable fence that surrounds the designated area. The outdoor seating is not allowed during the winter. Smoking is prohibited within ten feet of a designated sidewalk cafe. Sidewalks can only be used incidentally, and there must be a five-foot wide pathway for pedestrians.
In the application process, restaurants must offer a detailed drawing of the layout for the sidewalk cafe. They must also pay a 50 dollar fee initially and for each annual renewal of a permit. The city council emphasized that each particular permit will be evaluated on its own merits. The council passed the ordinance unanimously.