Westfield’s sidewalk dining ordinance returned to committee for further review

Hampden County

The Westfield City Council was set to consider a new ordinance to streamline the process for businesses to apply for outdoor dining Thursday night.

The vote would’ve decided on a permit that would give dining areas the ability to have sidewalk seating during the spring, summer, and fall, but City Councilor Ralph Figy told 22News the proposed ordinance was sent back to the committee to receive further discussion and revision before the city council takes another vote. 

Currently, the restaurants Two Rivers Burrito and Mama Cakes already have sidewalk seating but the owner of the burrito shop said the process they had to go through for approval wasn’t designed for restaurants. 

The owner said having outdoor seating is a big draw for customers, and could be a good thing for other restaurants downtown. 

“When we applied for it five years ago, there wasn’t specifically a process here in Westfield, probably because there weren’t too many places that were doing that yet, and it was kind of cumbersome and complicated,” said Joe Wynn, owner of Two Rivers Burrito. “It wasn’t specifically designed for restaurants. So hopefully they can find a way to make it easier.”

The ordinance drafted by the City Council’s Legislative and Ordinance Committee includes a $100 permit fee. Restaurants would have to re-apply for those permits annually.

Wynn said he thinks more outdoor seating is a good way to get more people to downtown Westfield. Councilor Figy told 22News the council will likely vote on the ordinance again in mid-August. 

“The whole idea is to try to help out the businesses downtown and give them another option as to what they can do,” Figy said. “And gives the people of Westfield another option for dining.”

The permit application includes a description and diagram of the sidewalk area where service will be provided as well as the number and type of tables and chairs that will be used.

The new ordinance will need a simple majority in order for it to be passed.

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