Council considers outdoor seating downtown, council’s rules

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — The Sidney City Council discussed seasonal outdoor dining on downtown public sidewalks and council rules during the Feb. 1 teleconference meeting.

Public Works Director Jon Crusey led the discussion and sought direction from council on drawing up legislation on the outdoor seating.

With new restaurants locating and planned for downtown, Crusey said, requests for information have been received regarding outdoor dining/seating on the public sidewalk. Additionally, COVID-19 restrictions for indoor dining have heightened the desire for outdoor dining, he noted.

The CityVisions Downtown and Riverfront Development Strategy recommends utilizing sidewalks through several of their recommendations, one of which is outdoor dining, Crusey said. CityVisions Associates, a downtown developer/consultant, out of Louisville, Kentucky, has been working with Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership and Sidney Alive to help strategize a vision for downtown. City staff and Sidney Alive developed a proposal of guidelines for regulating the use of the downtown sidewalks for outdoor dining, and they are:

• A minimum of 5-feet of pedestrian walkway unobstructed by any obstacle (such as a tree, pole, post, sign, planter, trash receptacle, etc.) between the curb and the outdoor seating area, or between the building and the outdoor seating area).

• Seating area shall not obstruct ingress/egress from any building or business and shall not block access to waste collection receptacles, hydrants, alleys, manhole covers, or fire suppression/protection systems.

• Tables and chairs shall be weather resistant and maintained in a good condition. They should be made of durable material such as metal, wood, or durable plastic, and kept clean and free of debris, and are to be approved by the city, Sidney Alive and the Downtown Design Review Board.

• The tables and chairs shall be secured against wind and theft.

• Seating area may be delineated by use of temporary barriers such as cordons or railings.

• The tables and chairs shall be in front of the business they are intended to serve and shall not extend onto other business fronts

• Alcoholic beverages may only be served or removed from the premises in conformance with Ohio Liquor Control Commission requirements and Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) regulations.

• Insurance coverage is required by permittee. The permittee shall maintain commercial general liability insurance against claims for injuries to persons or damages to property which may arise from or in connection with the permittee’s activities pursuant to the permit. Coverage shall be at least as broad … with limits no less than $1 million per occurrence.

• Liquor liability: If the permittee will be supplying alcoholic beverages, the general liability insurance shall include host liquor liability coverage. If permittee intends to sell alcohol either the permittee or vendor providing the alcohol for sale must have a valid liquor sales license and liquor liability insurance covering the sale of alcohol.

• The policy(ies) shall cover the city of Sidney officers, officials, employees, and volunteers as additional insureds with respect to liability arising out of the permitted activities.

Each insurance policy required shall not be canceled, except with notice to the city of Sidney. Upon issuance of the permit, and each July 1 during the term of the permit, permittee shall furnish the city with a certificate of insurance verifying compliance with requirements.

After a short discussion, Mayor Mike Barhorst said it would be best to hear the CityVisions’ presentation before moving forward with legislation for further consideration.

Also Monday, Law Director Jeffrey Amick provided a presentation on council’s rules for best practices covering standards of conduct on ethics, conflicts of interest and unlawful directives. Amick annually reviews the rules, which were last amended in April 2016. Council’s general rules of standards are reviewed with members during the council orientation program.

He said the update is not because any council member is not doing what they should be doing or because there is an immediate need, but rather so there is a guide for future council members to be able to refer to for conduct.

After members expressed concern or asked for clarity about certain parts of the proposal, Barhorst asked Amick to review it to make it more concise and bring it back for further review at the March workshop session.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.