Council considers loosening outdoor dining restrictions
YARDLEY – Year round outdoor dining could soon be coming to restaurants in the borough, but only if they have permanent covered porches.
The council voted on Sept. 18 to DGYHUWLsH D PRGLficDWLRn WR LWs RuWdoor dining ordinance that would allow establishments, like the Continental Tavern and the newly-opened Trattoria Rosa Bianca, with permanently covered dining areas, to serve year round.
The ordinance currently limits outdoor dining in the borough to between April 1 and Nov. 15.
Under the change, eating establishments would be allowed to serve year round if they have a porch that is a permanent structure and attached to a building.
However, restaurants with outdoor dining on the sidewalk would not be permitted to serve outdoors between Nov. 15 and April 1 due to winter weather conditions.
Councilman Mike Ruttle, who chairs the council’s community development committee, said when he SURSRsHG WKH PRGLficDWLRn KH wDs thinking about sitting on the porch of the Continental and watching the ice skaters at Lake Afton.
“That’s going to be an attractive place for people who bring their kids,” he continued. “They can sit there and get a cup of hot chocolate, Irish coffee, mulled wine – whatever it is.”
Ruttle said people “can sit there and enjoy a winter ice skating scene and be able to do it in a very comfortable and relaxed setting.”
He said that “businesses like to think that government is in their way. Why should the borough care whether an owner of a restaurant is serving on a covered porch between Nov. 15 and April 1?
“It really doesn’t matter,” Ruttle said. “If it’s on a sidewalk and we have to keep the pedestrian way open and free from ice and slush and all of the rest in the winter -- that makes sense. That’s a public safety issue.
“If you’re on a covered porch that’s not a public health and safety issue,” he said. “It just isn’t,” he said.
Ruttle contends that “the council doesn’t need to be that intrusive in trying to restrict how restaurant owners operate their businesses. Let the weather make the choice. Borough council doesn’t need to worry about that. We just let them take care of it.”
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In other action at the council meeting, the council voted to allow the Knowles-Doyle American Legion Post 317 to hang a banner promoting its 3rd Annual Oktoberfest, which takes place on Saturday, Oct. 6 from noon to 5 p.m.
An ordinance requires organizations to obtain approval from the borough council in order to display their banners.
Bill Tropia, commander of the post, brought the colorful banner with him. He unfurled it for a photo opportunity and displayed it for the camera.
Immediately following Harvest Day, the Legion banner will go up. Immediately following Oktoberfest, the Canal-O-Ween banner will be hung.
Oktoberfest will take place at the rear of the Legion Hall, located at 215 South Main Street, Yardley Borough.
German bratwurst, German-style potato salad and sauerkraut will be available. In addition, real German beer will be on tap. Other food, including hot dogs as well as soft drinks will be available for children.
The council also decided not to meet on Tuesday, Nov. 6 due to Election Day. Instead, the meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
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The next meeting of the Yardley Borough Council will be Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Meetings are held at borough hall, 56 South Main Street, Yardley.