Outdoor Dining Zoning Ordinance Approved

By Adam Swift

The City Council unanimously approved a new zoning ordinance establishing outdoor dining regulations at its meeting on Monday night.

While outdoor dining in the city was allowed in the city by the state in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the new ordinance gives Revere greater oversight over restaurants, ensuring that outdoor dining abides by ADA requirements and other regulations.

The city policy was created as a partnership between the planning department, the city’s business liaison, the inspectional services department, and the licensing commission.

At a public hearing last month, assistant city solicitor Claire Inzerillo said all the applications will go through a site review process that includes input from the city’s disability commission, fire prevention, and police department among others.

“What we are trying to do tonight is give local control,” said Tom Skwierawski, the city’s planning and community development director.

When outdoor dining began to jump in popularity with the pandemic, Skwierawski said there were issues with accessibility and definitions of what was and wasn’t allowed with outdoor dining, especially on DCR properties along Revere Beach.

“We hope this will be a solution to this problem and not exacerbate it,” said Skwierawski.

Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky raised questions about the accessibility issues, noting that he did not want to see barriers on sidewalks, or tables being placed on narrow sidewalks.

Licensing Administrator Maggie Haney said all applications would be reviewed and would have to comply with ADA regulations. She also noted that there would not necessarily need to be barriers on the sidewalks for outdoor dining at all of the establishments.

Haney pointed to several establishments on Shirley Avenue where there is no outside service, but where patrons can order inside and then dine at a small table outside the restaurant.

“In some cases, it will be perfectly fine to have a small set up where there is not a lot of room,” said Haney.

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