Potential changes to Greenville’s outdoor dining policy

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The city of Greenville is trying to change its policy when it comes to outdoor dining.

As part of the council’s top seven economic development priorities for the year, one was to create more outdoor dining in uptown.

Change is constantly happening in uptown and this one works to joins together food and fun with outdoor eating.

“If you’re riding through the uptown area, and you see folks out there, it kind of creates that place,” said Christian Lockamy, acting economic development manager. “It’s really cool. It creates that energy, that buzz you want on your street fronts.”

In 2013, outdoor dining became an option but since then businesses say it’s not easy securing a permit to do this unless they have private property to put tables and chairs, such as Winslow’s or Crossbone’s Tavern.

“When we talk about outdoor dining, we’re talking about dining in the public right away,” said Lockamy. “So in sidewalks and possibly in alleyways.”

So how does the city create more places to dine outside? It does it by loosening the restrictions on sidewalk space for tables.

“What we’re looking at doing is reducing the minimum width to four feet,” said Lockamy. “We found that that is an enforceable provision that we can do. I think that will help.”

One of the businesses here in uptown that would like to see the dining policy change is the Scullery who haven’t applied for an outdoor eating permit because they just don’t have enough sidewalk room.

“The scullery we’re a little landlocked by our sidewalk situation,” said Matthew Scully, owner of the Scullery. “There is not a lot of space, so I am excited about the potential of increasing the sidewalk space. I think that would really help places like ours.”

 This would help bring in more customers to the already bustling coffee house and creamery.

“I would love that,” said Scully. “I think outdoor dining is important and not only add more seating to the restaurant, but also just helps improve the look and the feel of the whole area, it encourages people to get out and walk around and come into your shop and enjoy the outside.”

 Other options city leaders are looking at includes extending outdoor dining to Dickinson Street and supplying outdoor furniture, so restaurants won’t have to take it in and out. The Greenville city council has to vote on these decisions.

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