Last night, Lakewood City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that eases the way for restaurants to expand outdoor dining into parking lots, public rights of way and some on-street parking in an effort to boost business in the age of social distancing.
“This resolution, among other things, will relax the requirements and regulations for restaurants seeking conditional use permits for outdoor dining,” explains Jason Shachner, Lakewood City Councilman and the bill’s proponent.
The resolution acknowledges “that restaurants are critical to the vibrancy of Lakewood and to ensure that our local restaurants remain successful and that the public feels safe patronizing them the City of Lakewood should provide more opportunities for restaurants to expand their outdoor dining capacity to promote compliance with the Governor’s orders.”
To speed the way for restaurants to utilize these unconventional areas for outdoor dining, the City of Lakewood will temporarily waive or modify cumbersome requirements such as requiring a traffic study prior to the granting of a conditional use permit and requiring a fee for the same.
According to the resolution, the privileges will stay in place for the duration of the state of emergency declared by the State of Ohio, the County of Cuyahoga, or the City of Lakewood or until October 31, 2020, whichever comes first.
No word on if or when similar measures proposed to Cleveland City Council will pass.