Local Law 121 Allows Elligible Restaurants to Continue Offering Outdoor Dining Experiences

The patchwork of outdoor dining restaurant additions that sprung up during COVID has now been legally ratified: On August 16, 2023, Mayor Adams signed Local Law 121 of 2023, marking a new milestone in outdoor dining regulations. Notably this development uniquely illustrates something quite novel: the evolution of the outdoor dining scene from the impromptu offspring of emergency orders to long-term recognition in a formal legislative framework.

The core provisions of this new law empower eligible NYC restaurateurs to continue offering outdoor dining experiences on city roads and sidewalks, setting the eligible time frame from April 1st to November 29th each year. To realize this, revocable consent from the Department of Transportation (DOT) will be required. The DOT will establish comprehensive design guidelines for these dining structures and outline the specifics concerning revocable consent, a detail currently in the process of being refined.

Guiding the operational parameters, the law stipulates that restaurants can extend their outdoor dining hours from at least 10 a.m. until midnight throughout the week, with potential for extensions. However, Sunday opening times cannot be earlier than 10 a.m., and operations are to be paused during the period from November 30th to March 31st. An aspect requiring further clarification is whether outdoor dining structures must be dismantled during November 30 to March 31, or left in place but unused.

Notably, restaurant tenants are entrusted with a significant responsibility, involving the payment of annual fees proportional to location and the dimensions of their roadway and sidewalk cafes. Moreover, filing fees are applicable for the revocable consent application. Elevated fees will apply below 125th Street in Manhattan. These obligations align with the overarching aim of the law to enhance the vibrancy of outdoor dining while ensuring responsible and sustainable implementation.

For landlords and tenants, The Margolis Law Firm is diligently working to craft lease provisions tailored to prepare for the implementation of this new law. From the landlord’s perspective, we include provisions as to adherence to the new law, tenant operations, and financial accountability for non-compliance. From the tenant’s perspective, we look to assure landlord’s cooperation both in terms of filing applications and reasonable consents to requests relating to outdoor dining operations. These provisions offer a robust framework for both parties to navigate this evolving landscape.

Margolis Law Firm Real Estate Bulletin, Sep 7, 2023, www.margolislawfirm.com

How can we help you?

Complete this quick form and we will have an associate reach out to you immediately.