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Outdoor dining is here to stay in Riverhead Town

Riverhead Town’s plan to make outdoor dining permanent encountered no obstacles at a public hearing on Sept. 21. 

There were no speakers during the hearing. 

“Everybody loves it,” Councilman Frank Beyrodt deduced. 

However, the board held the hearing open for written comments submitted within 10 days , as it does with every hearing. “This was an effort between myself, the building department and the fire marshal to help distressed restaurants when they were limited in capacity due to COVID-19,” Supervisor Yvette Aguilar said. 

She said the outdoor permits were temporary at the time and carried no fees.  

“This was a lifeline to restaurants,” Councilman Ken Rothwell said. 

A few changes in the permanent outdoor dining legislation include that permits now require payment of  a $150 fee, and that the application is now 10 pages instead of three.

The permit allows outdoor dining from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., according to town attorney Bob Kozakiewicz. The outdoor dining must be set up directly in front of the building serving the food, and they can’t use public receptacles, such as garbage cans or benches.

“This is a win-win,” said Councilwoman Catherine Kent. “It’s really fabulous and I’m excited to make this permanent.”

“Whenever you see outdoor dining it just makes a place more inviting,” said Councilman Tim Hubbard.