Rules coming for sidewalk dining in Mundelein
Mundelein officials are formalizing rules for restaurateurs who want to offer dining service on public sidewalks.
Although two Mundelein restaurants have seasonal sidewalk dining, the village code doesn't have explicit conditions for sidewalk service. Officials want to ensure restaurants adhere to the Americans With Disabilities Act, leave room for pedestrians and keep the areas attractive.
They also want owners to take legal responsibility if someone is hurt in a sidewalk dining area.
"This whole issue is about the transfer of risk," Trustee Scott Black said during Monday's village board meeting.
The restrictions being drafted would be for dining areas on public sidewalks and village property.
The rules also would apply to businesses that want to put benches or small bistro tables on the sidewalk outside their doors, Mundelein Community Development Director Amanda Orenchuk said.
"We've had a couple businesses ask us (about benches) and kind of informally we've allowed it," Orenchuk said. "We wanted to formalize that policy."
Outdoor dining or seating areas on private property would be exempt.
Tina G's and Park Street Restaurant in downtown Mundelein have seasonal sidewalk dining sections. The restaurants are next to each other on Park Street east of Route 45, and their owners needed permits for the service.
Village leaders think more requests will come as the redevelopment of the downtown district continues.
If approved, businesses seeking to use a sidewalk or other village property for outdoor dining or seating would have to submit an application, adhere to design standards, hold insurance for the use and indemnify the village in case of a lawsuit.
The permit process would be free.
"It's more about having a permitting process so that we can verify (governmental) regulations are followed," Orenchuk said.
Trustee Bill Rekus voiced concern about charging businesses to display signs at or in any outdoor seating area.
If a restaurateur wants to post such a sign, the village would require a permit and charge a fee as it would for any business, Village Administrator John Lobaito said.
But considering all the other fees restaurateurs face, Rekus said charging for another sign is unacceptable.
However, if the village forgoes fees for outdoor signs at restaurants, other businesses would expect fee waivers, too, Orenchuk said.
The village board took no action on the plan Monday. A final proposal could be ready for a vote at the board's May 14 meeting, Lobaito said.