HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - During Wednesday’s Borough of Hasbrouck Heights Council meeting, a discussion concerning the July 2nd Outdoor Dining and Boulevard Stroll turned into a brief debate over the Borough outdoor dining guidelines.
The event, which will see a stretch of the Boulevard closed for outdoor dining from 4:30 to 9:30 pm, was a collaborative effort between the town and the Chamber of Commerce. Councilman Ron Kistner gave the Council an update, noting that it would be a help to local restaurants, which have just been able to reopen for table service after being limited to takeout/delivery during the pandemic.
It was also noted that under the Governor’s Executive order re-opening restaurants, it was not that the order also allowed liquor to be served outside the premises, as long as certain conditions were met.
Kistner also noted that some of the restaurants closer to Williams Ave, where the Boulevard will not be closed, will be putting tables outside on the sidewalk as well that evening.
Later, Councilman Justin DiPisa noted that the Council should also consider amending the zoning laws in the future to allow sidewalk sales. He noted, that as a past president of the Hasbrouck Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce, sidewalk sales were quite popular with both businesses and residents. He said that it should be something that "we are thinking about," as retail businesses are hurting just as much as restaurants.
Kistner noted as part of his update that the timing worked out well, as the Department of Public Works street sweepers clean the county roads on Thursday evenings.
“After the tables are put away and the restaurants clean up, and sweepers come through,” Kistner stated. “You won’t be able to even notice that there was an event the night before.”
Following the update, Councilman Chris Hillmann brought up the issue of why the Hasbrouck Heights Borough Code has time restrictions for outdoor dining, noting that it is only allowed between April and November.
“If there is nice day in January, and a business wants to put tables out, and people want to eat outside, it should not be up to us," said Hillmann. "I wanted to put this out there, especially since we do not know what the future will hold for (indoor) dining."
Mayor Jack DeLorenzo defended the ordinance, stating it was needed so the streets could be cleaned during inclement weather. It was noted that last year the time frame was extended to the end of November.
DeLorenzo also said that "we make decisions based on facts. So if limited dining is in place in the future, that is something we will have to consider. But if everything goes back to normal, then it is a different story."
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