Restaurant owners can seek a city permit to expand outdoor seating under a resolution the Jordan City Council approved earlier this month.
The permit allows businesses to temporarily alter site plans by skirting the traditional conditional use permit process, which usually takes months to go into effect due to public hearings and committee votes. City Administrator Tom Nikunen said the temporary solution came after a couple restaurants approached City Hall seeking alterations.
“They want the ability to start and plan for it June 1,” Nikunen said at the May 18 council meeting. “If they’re getting their seating cut down by 50%, they want to create as much as they can possibly outside to help their business.”
Gov. Tim Walz on May 20 announced restaurants could reopen outdoor eating areas on June 1 with a limited number of patrons and other several safety precautions in place. Restaurants until then are restricted to to-go and delivery service to try to slow the coronavirus’s spread.
To file for a permit, business owners need to submit a site plan detailing the proposed outdoor dining area, including the number of tables and chairs and description of the barrier used to define the dining area.
Green space and parking areas are possible areas of expansion for some businesses, but the resolution states that expansions cannot impede sidewalk usage, block handicap parking spaces or “create nuisance conditions for abutting properties.”
The resolution also allows businesses without outdoor seating to establish an outdoor dining area.
“We’re not limiting anybody,” Nikunen said. “We’re trying to get more tools for the ones that can use this, and if they don’t have any more space we can’t create more space for them ... we’ll work with whoever has an application or a question to see what we can do.”
Nikunen said the resolution went into effect May 18 so city staff can get a head start.