Current curb-side dining rules stay in effect this year – Parklets to add ‘Vibe’
Apr. 7, 2022 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Current patio placement rules will stay in effect this year after the Plymouth City Commission approved new 2022 Outdoor Dining Extension Program and Outdoor Platform Dining Guidelines at their Mar. 21 meeting.
Plymouth’s outdoor dining that wasn’t born out of necessity because of the pandemic has grown in popularity over past years to become a bonanza to many of the city’s multiple eating establishments, especially those struggling during the state mandated shut-downs and restrictions.
Restaurateurs in a city sometimes referred to as “Party Town,” because of the abundance of clustered restaurants and bars, have proved over time diners don’t mind eating curbside despite exhaust fumes, noise, loud mufflers and cigarette smoke. Last month, after approval by the Liquor License Review Committee, Plymouth City Commissioners recommended renewal of the city’s 25 liquor establishments to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission by a vote of 7 to 0.
The popular alfresco curbside dining concept is said to have kept downtown restaurants afloat last year until the weather became unbearable to even the hardiest diners. Plymouth restaurant customers braved winds and freezing cold temperatures just to be able to avoid the carry-outs and eat outside. One bar erected heated igloos in their parking lot.
Parklets and permanent outdoor dining are under consideration.
The concept known as “Parklets,” “Street Seats” or “Curbside Seating” are platforms used on street parking spaces for additional restaurant seating.
Attendees at a joint study session held Feb.15 at the Plymouth Cultural Center to review the parklet proposal, including restaurant and sundry business owners, neighbors and others, expressed concerns about losing parking spaces, parking for non-restaurant businesses and funding the project. Some suggested semi-permanent parklets while others expressed support. The proposed project is subject to approval by the city commission at a future date.
Permanent outdoor dining plan is not unique to Plymouth.
Just like in Plymouth, trending city leaders in Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Portland, and Seattle are reportedly in the process of developing plans for permanent outdoor dining, utilizing sheds, igloos and patios giving businesses the choice between parking and table space.
According to City Manager Paul Sincock the allowed temporary barricades used last year “Didn’t give the city the vibe we want…(parklets) are a great way to increase the vibrancy of our community.” Sincock says the parklets will be a safer option for diners.
“I find this to be a very compelling vision for the City of Plymouth…It speaks to the vibrancy and connectivity that we want to maintain in the downtown and Old Village, stated Plymouth Mayor Nick Moroz in the city’s March newsletter.
In New York a coalition of residents sued to block the city from making its outdoor dining program permanent, citing eyesores, magnets for rodents, rats, trash, noise and crowds. New York has over 12,000 establishments participating. Outdoor dining has been boon to New York restaurant owners. Plymouth’s quaint downtown is a far cry from New York and restaurant owners and residents alike want to be ensured the modifications are safe, clean and accommodating for the handicapped.
If approved, officials say participating businesses will be responsible for the costs of the parklets as well as associated fees and will be required to meet all ADA requirements for their entire outdoor dining areas.