A lame duck City Council last year voted to make the City’s Open Restaurants program permanent after intense lobbying by the restaurant industry and the DOT assuring that the outdoor sheds would be replaced by corrals containing tables with umbrellas. The law also lifted the commercial zoning requirement for siting. A State Supreme Court justice in late March called New York City’s permanent Open Restaurants program “arbitrary and capricious,” and has ordered that a complete en- vironmental review be done before implementing the program, which could take many months. The court found that the city simply “pre-judged” the program, assuring that it would have no downsides. Without the required State Environmental Quality Review, the city failed to address potential impacts on things like noise, traffic, parking, sanitation, and neighborhood character. A win for common sense. Naturally, the City is appealing the ruling. Restaurants currently participating in the program have until December 31st of this year to dismantle their dining sheds regardless of the final court decision.
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SERVING MIDDLE VILLAGE AND MASPETH SINCE 1938.