Raleigh business owners concerned about new ordinance

July 23, 2018 by  

The Raleigh City Council has unanimously voted to make a chance in an ordinance with regard to outdoor seating at the city’s restaurants, a change that business owners recently said surprised them.

The ordinance limits the amount of outdoor seating available to businesses, citing the fact that all tables and chairs must allow a walkway at least five feet wide, so pedestrians can have comfortable passage. The idea behind the change is to make it easy for disabled people to walk throughout the city’s downtown freely, without encountering obstacles or struggling to get around.

However, some businesses recently said they had not heard about the change to the regulations, and wished they had had an opportunity to provide input about the measure before it was enacted. Kenneth Yowell said he is getting ready to open a new restaurant, and feels like he is in limbo. Yowell is unsure of how the changes will affect his business, and says he wished the city and the downtown stakeholders shared proactive communication.

David Cox, one of Raleigh’s city council members, explained his reasons for voting to approve the change, revealing that both his nephew and niece use wheelchairs, and that he and his wife work with disabled people. He wanted to provide a clear, straight path on the city’s sidewalks for people like them.

A spokesperson for Raleigh said that most restaurants will not be losing any seating, but officials in situations like this can use flyer printing to disseminate information and clarify any concerns.