News Flash

Land Use - News

Posted on: March 13, 2021

2021 Outdoor Dining Questions Answered

I know the below is a lot to digest.  Key points are that P&Z has shifted around resources and we are here to help!  Come April 20th all temporary outdoor dining approved under Executive Orders must be removed so please get your zoning renewals in asap.  We understand you may want additional outdoor seats and we will do our best to figure out a way to help (details below): 

Primary contacts: 

Katie.DeLuca@greenwichct.org – main contact to discuss going outside zoning approvals 

Shanice.Becker@greenwichct.org – main contact for renewals

Peter.mangs@greenwichct.org – main contact for when you are ready to submit your application

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN EXECUTIVE ORDERS EXPIRE APRIL 20?

As you know, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the State imposed a series of Executive Orders that allowed restaurants to operate outdoors without the need to comply with certain local zoning regulations.  The Town responded by creating an expedited Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit so all restaurants throughout town could stay open and give the community some sense of normalcy and hope.  We also created enclosed areas, “nodes” in the Town right-of-way on Greenwich Avenue, Grigg Street, and East Elm Street.  This was also offered in the villages but they chose to work with P&Z and operate on a case by case basis. 

THANK YOU ALL FOR WORKING SO HARD FOR US - IT MADE BIG DIFFERENCE IN HELPING THE COMMUNITY GET THROUGH THIS! 

The Executive Orders expire on April 20, and at that time the town will go back to prior outdoor dining rules, which means that all tents, outside tables in parking areas and the link must be removed by April 20.  

Many of you have submitted your applications for annual renewal already but please do so in short order if you haven’t already so that we have a seamless transition.  

We have made significant staff adjustments to ensure that we get your applications processed in very short order.  Please get your renewal applications in ASAP!  See below links.

BUT I WANT AND NEED TO KEEP ADDITIONAL OUTSIDE AREAS OPEN – WHAT OPTIONS DO I HAVE?

If your restaurant is on Greenwich Avenue between the front and rear building lines and you have a previously approved outdoor dining permit by the Commission, then submit your annual renewal with the amended plan to use the nodes.  An increase in the number of seats, must go to the Commission.  We will hold a special meeting if needed.

If your restaurant is not between the front and rear building lines, you will have to submit an application to the Planning and Zoning Commission asking them to allow for expansion of outside areas.  Keep in mind you have to be able to comply with local zoning rules so I would STRONGLY suggest submitting an approval for your outdoor dining renewal in tandem because we can handle that administratively at least get that opened.  Please e-mail me to set up a time to speak directly to me about your specific situation.  

WHAT APPLICATION PROCESS DO I FOLLOW (see links for forms below):

Executive Orders expire April 20th, so by April 20, all dining and tents approved under any temporary outdoor dining permit (Greenwich Avenue or elsewhere) must be removed and restored

1)      Those who have a previous zoning approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission for outdoor dining under our local zoning regulations (as opposed to the executive orders) should immediately apply for their annual renewal.  Two application tracks:

a.      ADMINISTRATIVE – $250 annual renewal fee + $60 state fee

i.      Applies to those who want to simply get their annual renewal approval 

ii.      Also applies to those who want to use their nodes on Greenwich Avenue; but are NOT proposing any increase in seats – you are permitted to use your allowable number of seats any way they like meaning inside or outside but we need to see a plan to confirm your plan meets bldg. and fire code (15 sf per person)

b.      COMMISSION ($1,200 + $60 state fee)

 i.      You have never received outdoor dining approval before (Temporary outdoor dining doesn’t count)

ii.      You want to increase the number of seats you are permitted to have 

WHAT ABOUT THE APPROVED NODES ON GREENWICH AVENUE, GRIGG St., and EAST ELM:

Due to rules created in the 1960’s for parking in the Central Business District (generally Greenwich Avenue where there are front and rear building lines) we have uncovered a legal construct that allows the town to continue outdoor dining in the barricaded “nodes” for restaurants within this area.  However, you MUST submit an administrative application showing a seating plan.  To increase the number of seats allowed you have to submit an application to the Commission. 

The Board of Selectmen is looking to hold a meeting on Monday, 3-15-21 @ 11a.m. to review and possibly approve fees for use of parking spaces for outdoor dining to cover the loss of revenue for the parking stalls.

Liquor permits: May 12, 2020: Executive Order No. 7MM

Allows restaurants and other businesses who already have liquor permits to serve alcohol only with food without applying for a separate patio or extension of use permit

Once the Executive Orders are eliminated, presumably you will need to apply for a separate patio permit with the State Liquor Commission.  This is outside of P&Z jurisdiction and is not here as an FYI.

WHERE DO I GET THE APPLICATION FORMS?:

ANNUAL RENEWAL:

  • Applicants who received an approval from Planning and Zoning last year can submit an Outdoor Dining Renewal Application. This application review is handled by Planning and Zoning Staff, and carries a fee of $310.  Please note that we will require plans to be reviewed by the Health Department and stamped for this year prior to submittal for review.

ANNUAL RENEWAL ON GREENWICH AVENUE AND YOU WANT TO INCREASE SEATS above your last zoning approval:

  • Submit the completed Final Site Plan Application linked below, along with the application fee ($1,260.00) to Peter Mangs, our Application Coordinator. He can be reached via email at Peter.Mangs@greenwichct.org

https://www.greenwichct.gov/DocumentCenter/View/18596/Commission-and-Special-Permits-App-2020

NEVER RECEIVED ZONING APPROVAL FOR OUTDOOR DINING BEFORE AND I WANT MORE THAN 3 TABLES:

  • Submit the completed Final Site Plan Application linked below, along with the application fee ($1,260.00) to Peter Mangs, our Application Coordinator. He can be reached via email at Peter.Mangs@greenwichct.org

https://www.greenwichct.gov/DocumentCenter/View/18596/Commission-and-Special-Permits-App-2020

NEVER RECEIVED ZONING APPROVAL FOR OUTDOOR DINING BEFORE AND I WANT LESS THAN 3 TABLES:

INSURANCE forms (required for annual renewal on town property and/or any one who wants to use the nodes):

https://greenwichct-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/megan_zanesky_greenwichct_org/ETj5nDqMjRNDor7WqeMLuB8BgvT258uhQAaD4jjQCb207Q?e=CNY0bH

ZONING REGULATIONS FOR OUTDOOR DINING:

Section 6-100 of the Building Zone Regulations:

“Outdoor dining facilities, ancillary and contiguous to an eating establishment (restaurant, or retail food establishment), operating on a seasonal (seven month) basis starting on April 1st and concluding on November 1st in any calendar year and subject to the following: (11/25/2008, 3/25/2014)

(1)   Proof of the availability of adequate parking shall be submitted at the time of application for final site plan approval guaranteeing said availability for the period the use is to function. 

(2)   Proof of adequate liability insurance shall be provided. Outdoor dining areas located on Town sidewalk(s) will be required to carry additional liability insurance and/or policies in such an amount as determined by the Town’s Risk Management Office. Proof of liability insurance shall be disclosed on an Acord form entitled, “Certificate of Liability Insurance”, and be in the amount as required by the Town’s Risk Management Office. The Town of Greenwich shall be named as an additional insured. If alcohol is being served, the Certificate of Liability Insurance certificate must disclose that liquor liability insurance is in place for the same amounts of the required general and umbrella liability policies and the applicant will be required to carry further liability insurance and/or policies. The owner/operator shall sign an agreement indemnifying the Town from liability on adjacent Town property resulting from the operation of said use prior to the issuance of Building and Zoning permits. (4/9/2014) 

(3)   When the seasonal use ceases at the end of the approved period, all evidence of such use shall be removed from the premises. (4/9/2014)

(4)   If said use is to be re-established the applicant must reapply, annually, and again meet all conditions and standards of this subsection.

(5)   Dining facilities use must be entirely on property owned or leased by the applicant. Public property may not be used for dining facilities purposes unless a properly executed lease agreement has been obtained and all insurances as approved by the Town. (4/9/2014)

(6)   Building and Zoning permits must be obtained prior to the start of dining facilities use regardless of the amount of construction involved. (11/17/97, 4/9/2014)

(7)   In the case of small-scale projects (3 tables or less, on private property) site plan approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission will not be necessary. The Town Planner shall review and approve said projects after assurance that the conditions of this subsection have been met and any requisite insurance is provided as mandated by the Town. (4/9/2014) 

(8)   Will not interfere with public, state or municipal use of any public street, sidewalk or property, will not create a disturbance or hazard to pedestrians or traffic and will not interfere with the safe and free flow of pedestrians or traffic. (7/24/83).”


Sincerely,

Katie DeLuca, Director

Additional info...
Facebook Twitter Email