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Louisville Metro introduces new on-street dining for restaurants

New option will allow restaurants to expand outdoor dining into parking lanes

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Government has expanded opportunities for restaurants to offer new temporary outdoor dining through the utilization of on-street parking spaces.

“As we envision a day beyond the pandemic, we want our eclectic Louisville eateries to be part of that future, which is why Louisville Metro has been seeking new ways to help them stay open throughout the restrictions,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “The new on-street dining option will give restaurants the chance to serve more customers in a safe manner while complying with the state restrictions that are necessary to stem the spread of COVID-19.”

Interested restaurants must submit plans to the city for approval before implementation. Restaurants can view a full list of regulations and submit their plan at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/aps/temporary-street-dining.

The temporary on-street dining must be:

  • Immediately adjacent to the sidewalk
  • In public, on-street parking spaces that do not have peak hour restrictions
  • On streets where the speed limit is 35 mph or less
  • Located in spaces immediately adjacent to the approved business

Other criteria include: being at least a foot from adjacent travel lanes, 20 feet from intersections and 10 feet from transit stops, functioning curb cuts and fire hydrants. The dining cannot be in bus or bike lanes, loading zones, or designated accessible parking spots, and all plans must meet requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Once the plan is submitted, staff with the Office of Advanced Planning and Sustainability will work with the applicants to discuss the process, cost and any potential challenges. An encroachment permit through either Louisville Metro Public Works or the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is required, depending on the business’ location. Metro staff will work with applicants to apply for those permits.

Restaurants will be responsible for providing their own furniture as well as required barriers for public safety. PARC is offering a discounted rate to bag meters if they are present in front of an establishment.

Pilot opportunity

As part of the launch, Louisville Metro will spend unused Cyclouvia funds to pilot on-street dining opportunities at up to 15 locations throughout the city for one month. This will include paying for barrier rentals and any applicable parking meter costs. Following the monthlong pilot, the businesses can decide whether to assume the cost themselves or remove the barriers.

Restaurants will be chosen based on the following criteria: safety, geography, the ability to partner with a neighboring restaurant, and need. Those will little or no options for other outdoor dining will be prioritized.

This is the latest measure Louisville Metro Government has taken to ease restrictions for restaurants during the pandemic. In May, the Department of Public Works temporarily suspended application fees for restaurants seeking an encroachment permit to add or expand their outdoor seating on public property, including sidewalks. Restaurants must still apply online for an encroachment permit for seating on public property at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/get-permit.

Louisville Forward worked with Louisville Metro Council to pass an emergency ordinance to suspend certain planning and zoning requirements to allow:

  • Restaurants to setup or expand outdoor seating on private property or in a parking lot without additional parking, landscaping or other requirements normally required.
  • Restaurants that are in compliance with the Land Development Code and that already have a liquor license to serve alcohol outdoors from their existing indoor bar.

The city also waived Tent Permit fees, allowing restaurants to erect canopies, a type of tent that has no side walls or flaps, over their outdoor dining. Restaurants must still apply for a tent permit at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/construction-review/tent-permits.