Thursday, April 7, 2016


Restaurants that want to create an outdoor sidewalk cafe in front of their eateries would no longer require the permission of their landlords under changes to the Township's outdoor cafe laws being proposed by the Township Committee. 

Following a lengthy discussion on the issue at Tuesday night's TC meeting, the governing body directed Township Attorney Roger Desiderio to revise the law that now requires such permission.

"I'd like to see it removed," TC Member Nancy Adams, who raised the issue, said of the requirement. "Some people are easy landlords and other people are more difficult or tight landlords. I don't see that if this is a public space any reason to have permission of the property owner for its tenants to have outdoor tables."

The current ordinance requires food outlets to seek a permit for such outdoor tables, and the permission of their landlord. But Mayor Vic Deluca said there are at least two restaurants that have been denied such permission by their property owners.

The Township used to also require a $100 fee each year, but removed that several years ago, Deluca said.

The TC discussed the fact that each sidewalk is not owned by the landlord of the food establishment it fronts, but by the Township. So, they determined, the landlord should have no right to block an outdoor seating area.

The proposed changes would also remove the provision that requires 10 square feet of space for each seat in the outdoor seating area.

Deluca asked that another provision be added that would make the restaurant responsible for any damage to the sidewalk that is created by having the outdoor cafe in place.

The revised rules will be considered at an upcoming TC meeting.