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Open Restaurants Zoning Text Amendment

Managing Agency: NYC Department of Transportation
Location: 
Citywide
Project Description
: A permanent Open Restaurants program, managed by NYC DOT, to allow restaurants to use the sidewalk adjacent and curbside roadway space in front of their businesses for outdoor dining.
Status: Pending

Due to the success of the emergency Open Restaurants Program during COVID-19, New York City is working to create a permanent Open Restaurants program. This program will be managed by NYC DOT and allow restaurants to use the sidewalk adjacent and curbside roadway space in front of their businesses for outdoor dining. In order to make this program permanent, the laws that control outdoor dining in non-emergency situations must be changed.NYC Permanent Open Restaurants Program Brochure (pdf)

Vision for Permanent Program

Timeline

There are many legal changes required to making this program permanent.

Estimated Timeframe
Milestones
Fall 2021 to Fall 2022
Legal Actions Take Place (i.e. amendment to zoning text, changes to local law, rulemaking, design, and application details)
Winter 2022
Permanent Program Application Opens
2023
Permanent Program Launches

Public Outreach

NYC DOT and the Department of City Planning (DCP) will be embarking on a six-month outreach program engaging with New Yorkers to inform the future design rules for the permanent Open Restaurants program. In-Person and remote roundtables will take place throughout this fall and winter. These discussions will offer opportunities for New Yorkers to share their thoughts on how Open Restaurant structures should be designed to ensure that the final program rules balance creativity, feasibility and cost as they seek to enhance comfort and safety for all New Yorkers. Specifics and updates on these sessions will be posted below.

>> Take the NYC Open Restaurants Survey

Five Borough Board Meetings

NYC DOT and DCP will present to each of the five boroughs at Borough Board or Service Cabinet Meetings in December and January. NYC DOT and DCP will share an overview of the Permanent Open Restaurants Design Guidelines Process, Goals, and solicit feedback. Members of the public are encouraged to attend one of the virtual public roundtables in January listed below.

Overview of Open Restaurants Permanent Design Guidelines – Presented to all Five Boroughs (pdf)

Virtual Public Roundtables

NYC DOT and DCP will host a series of virtual roundtables that are open to the public, where any New Yorker can share their thoughts on the permanent Open Restaurants program. The first two will be:

Virtual Topic-Based Roundtables

Alfresco NYC – RPA, Design Trust, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign in coordination with NYC DOT & DCP will host a series of virtual roundtables to bring together a range of stakeholders from the hospitality industry, design professions, and transit and accessibility advocates, to provide an in-depth look at major issues to be addressed by the permanent program. Roundtable input will be shared publically. Details to follow.

Engagement Process and Timeline

Estimated Timeframe
Milestones
Fall/Winter 2021 Design and public engagement processes, organized and led by DCP and NYC DOT, and assisted by an interagency Open Restaurants design taskforce. The design taskforce consists of representatives from relevant agencies involved in managing the restaurant industry or in street planning: DOB, DCWP, DEP, DOHMH, DSNY, EDC, FDNY, LPC, MOPD, MOME, PDC, and SBS.
Spring 2022 Completion of the design engagement process, marked with the release of design guidelines in Spring 2022, which will detail all the intended design parameters, vetted by the interagency group.
Summer/Fall 2022 A robust community and borough level engagement and outreach program will be set up for sharing the design concepts in advance of the City’s rulemaking process known as the City Administrative Procedure Act, or CAPA. It is through CAPA that the City will finalize and adopt formal rules relating to the permanent Open Restaurants program, including rules for outdoor dining structures in the roadway.
Winter 2022 Following adoption of the rules through CAPA, NYC DOT will publish a final visual “manual” of design guidance, including an easy-to-use digital application that will provide a roadmap to restaurants on their outdoor dining structures. This resource will be made available ahead of the official launch of applications for the permanent Open Restaurants program, expected in late 2022.1