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Posted on: September 17, 2020

City Approves Temporary Addition of Outdoor Dining Space

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At their meeting this past Monday, New Braunfels City Council adopted a temporary ordinance to assist local restaurants.

During the pandemic, the City can issue temporary permits authorizing restaurants to use up to 40% of their on-site parking spaces for outdoor dining and to place an associated food truck/trailer or mobile kitchen on their premises.  

“This measure allows restaurants to expand outdoor dining into what would normally be minimum required parking spaces; spaces that are going unused during the pandemic,” noted Caleb Gasparek, Assistant Planner in the Planning and Development Services Department.  

“The state’s current rule that restaurants limit occupancy to 50% is leaving unused parking spaces.  This ordinance temporarily relaxes a portion of the minimum parking requirements for restaurants to allow them to expand their customer service or kitchen preparation area in the hopes it will encourage more customers to dine out,” added Planning and Development Services Department Director Christopher Looney. 

The City’s Zoning Ordinance includes requirements for a minimum number of parking spaces for different uses.  In the case of restaurants, those numbers are calculated based on number of seats or gross floor area.  While this ordinance is in effect, the City’s Code Compliance Team will relax enforcement of the stricter requirements.  

“Any restaurant interested in participating may submit a Temporary Outdoor Dining Application, along with a drawing of their socially-distanced expanded dining area.  There is no fee for this review or permit, and City staff can issue a permit once all safety measures have been satisfied,” said Gasparek. 

All standard health/food safety permit requirements and building/fire codes are still applicable.  City Council adopted the ordinance as an economic development measure during the pandemic, and asked City staff to provide routine updates which will factor into their decision on when to rescind this temporary ordinance.   

For more information, please contact Caleb Gasparek, Assistant Planner, at cgasparek@nbtexas.org

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