Dallas Working to Streamline Approval Process for Sidewalk Cafés

A City Council committee got its first look at a proposed revision of the streetscape licensing process by which restaurants and cafés can acquire sidewalk seating. Councilmembers sent the plan back the drawing board again.

Last year, the Dallas City Council asked planners to rethink the city’s “streetscape licensing” process, especially the onerous fees that were required of any restaurant or café hoping to go al fresco.

Under a proposed revision, reviewed this week by the City Council's Economic Development Committee, “there would be a two-year pilot program during which businesses would be charged one-time ‘streetscape license fee’ of $250 for sidewalk cafes, awnings, sidewalk retail, and the like. Sidewalk cafes would be charged an additional annual fee of between $300 and $1,000 depending on the number of tables and chairs. These would have to comply with to-be-determined ‘sidewalk cafe standards,’” according to a report by Eric Nicholson.

Councilman Scott Griggs did not react well to the lingering presence of fees: "It's anti-urban -- and I also think it's anti-free market -- to charge all these fees."

“By the end of the meeting, a loose consensus had emerged around a one-time, $250 streetscape fee and minimal regulations. Council members instructed [city planner] Cossum to come back with a streamlined proposal.”

Full Story: Dallas Is Trying to Not Kill Sidewalk Cafes, But Old Habits Are Hard to Break

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