New program opens street parking for outdoor dining
The City of Columbus is implementing a pilot program that will clear the way for restaurants and bars to expand outdoor seating by allowing them to use portions of certain roadways for temporary outdoor dining areas through Oct. 31.
The program will allow restaurants to use existing parking lanes on streets with speed limits under 30 miles per hour for seating, in addition to 25% of adjacent parking lots. Applications filed by restaurants serving alcohol must be approved by city zoning and health departments in addition to the Ohio Division of Liquor Control. Applications will be expedited and are expected to be processed within days of filing.
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The Ohio Restaurant Association has been pushing for the move, saying that Columbus’s rules regarding outdoor dining were much more stringent than other areas, and businesses were in danger of going under as a result.
Cleveland and Cincinnati have already expanded outdoor seating. Locally, Columbus suburbs such as Dublin and Hilliard, have done so as well.