The changes Lombard trustees approved to regulations governing outdoor dining are a sign of the village's willingness to adapt to promote its downtown, Trustee Peter Breen said Thursday night.
Trustees agreed to waive the fee for downtown eateries seeking outdoor dining permits for this summer and to remove the requirement that a meal must be provided with all alcoholic beverages served outside.
"Lombard is leading by showing our willingness to move quickly and respond to business concerns and change laws that aren't working," Breen said.
The changes got rolling a few months ago when Lombard Town Centre Executive Director Karen Stonehouse asked Breen and his economic and community development committee to address obstacles to outdoor eating, saying simpler requirements would provide a bigger boost to the downtown climate than any other single action.
Under the new regulations, outdoor dining hours cannot last longer than an eatery's indoor hours and must end by 12:30 a.m. after Sunday through Thursday nights and 1:30 a.m. after Friday and Saturday nights. Music provided for outdoor diners must end by 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and by 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. These time frames are consistent with the regulations on Praga Restaurant and Bon Ton Bar, which already offer outdoor seating in downtown Lombard.
Outdoor dining areas also must be regularly serviced and cleaned by restaurant staff, and establishments must provide public restrooms for patrons who choose to eat or drink outside.
Even before the changes were approved, Lombard village staff waived the permit fee for Mohd Assaf, owner of the Corner House, a coffee shop that opened last month at St. Charles Road and Park Avenue. He said he was pleasantly surprised not to have to pay for a permit to place five or six tables and 12 to 16 chairs outside his cafe.
Breen said seeing more people enjoying food and beverages outside this summer will show downtown improvements are moving in the right direction.
"This will provide a visible sign of the downtown revitalization that is occurring right now," he said.