Outdoor Dining 2023

2023 Outdoor Dining

The 2023 Outdoor dining season is arriving.   The Town is now operating outdoor dining in a manner similar to pre-2020 seasonal dining (Prior to COVID executive orders and the House Bills, which we followed the past 3 seasons, and have expired). Dining nodes, those taking up Public Parking spaces, and as permitted by the Board of Selectmen are also available to those who wish to apply and make use of this option.  Whether using nodes or not, seasonal outdoor dining will need to follow the current, amended, Zoning Regulations.   That means if, you have or are proposing more than three (3) tables, and never received a prior site plan approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission to operate a seasonal outdoor dining area, and only did so in 2020, 2021 and 2022 under the executive orders, you will need to seek and receive said approvals, before operating an outdoor dining use.  The same would apply if you are looking to change your pre-2020 approved outdoor dining use.  

Click here to view a list of establishments that do not have site plan approvals for seasonal outdoor dining or operated a dining node only under the executive orders.

The Planning and Zoning Department have created new Outdoor Dining Permit applications for the 2023 season, as well as a document answering your most frequently asked questions. The Outdoor Dining Permit application should be used for any restaurant that has never received outdoor dining approval prior to the COVID executive orders, as well as any restaurant looking to add seating or make any other changes to the scope of a previous approval, aside from adding nodes. The Outdoor Dining Permit Renewal should only be used for restaurants that have a previous approval through the Planning and Zoning Commission and are not making any changes to their scope, aside from nodes. A previously approved restaurant that is adding nodes and is not otherwise changing their scope can use the Renewal application.  Please see these applications as well as the FAQ below. 

Outdoor Dining Application

Outdoor Dining Renewal Application 

Outdoor Dining FAQ

In Dec. 2022 the Planning and Zoning revised the Seasonal Outdoor dining regulations, while most of the regulations are similar, there are some changes the highlights are as follows: 

(A full copy of the Zoning Text Amendment regarding outdoor dining that was approved by the Planning and Zoning commission, with an effective date of 12/28/2022 can be found by clicking here)

  • The Seasonal Outdoor Dining Season will run from April 1 and end on Nov. 20.
  • Seating for restaurants cannot exceed the maximum occupancy approved by Zoning approval(s), Building Code, or Fire Code, which ever is lowest.  (i.e. if a restaurant is approved for 40 seats, the indoor seats would need to be removed, equal to the number of outdoor seats, not to exceed that maximum number approved, 30 inside, 10 outside, 40 seats total.)
  • Outdoor dining areas shall be capable of accommodating disabled patrons in accordance with all applicable laws.
  • Pass-through or take-out windows are prohibited except that walk-up takeout windows may be permitted at seasonal snack-bar type restaurants, which are provided as an accessory use within recreational facilities such as public parks, school sports stadiums or golf courses, provided that such take-out windows shall be located and operated in a manner which ensures that they are an amenity to patrons of the facility and not a food service destination in their own right. Any door used to deliver food from the restaurant to an accessory outdoor dining area shall be self-closing, unless an alternative mechanism is approved by the Town of Greenwich Health Department.
  • Public address systems or other systems intended to convey music or verbal messages through amplification is prohibited in the outdoor dining areas. 
  • Lighting shall be limited to the minimum level necessary to illuminate the outdoor dining area for patrons and staff.   Flashing/blinking lights shall be prohibited.
  • Required cleanliness standards have been added.
  • Umbrellas are the only permitted shade structure, provided that the drip edge thereof is located at least seven feet above the ground and further provided that they shall not be used to advertise the restaurant or any other product or service.
  • The design of the outdoor dining area, including its furniture, should complement the design of the restaurant with which it is associated and contribute to the attractiveness of the streetscape.