Athens City Council passed an ordinance Monday to establish a pilot program for additional outdoor seating throughout the Uptown area through use of parklets.

Parklets are sidewalk extensions that provide a business with additional outdoor space. The addition of parklets could help businesses abide by the new social distancing regulations set in place due to COVID-19. That pilot program would allow for businesses to apply for the use of parklets during the months of August and September.

In addition to parklets, Council also discussed the need for sidewalk extensions in order for sidewalks to remain accessible to the public and maintain ADA standards.

Councilman Sam Crowl, D-3rd Ward, mentioned the possibility of businesses using the sidewalk space directly outside of their building for additional seating while allowing the parklet to serve as a temporary sidewalk. That would allow for businesses that have a wait staff to better serve their guests who are using the outdoor seating space. 

Athens Law Director Lisa Eliason said businesses may not be able to service alcohol to guests using the parklets because many liquor licenses only allow alcohol to be served within the building.

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson expressed his support for the pilot program, as it would help businesses that are suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re under a pandemic. The pandemic is having a pretty significant impact on all of our businesses in the city of Athens … I really feel strongly to make sure that we’re protecting the businesses in greatest need right now,” he said.

Council also discussed the start date for the curbside composting program. That program will cost residents of Athens an additional monthly fee of $6.33, according to a previous Post report.

Crowl reminded everyone that in order to opt-out of the program, residents will need to email compost@ci.athens.oh.us. The program will begin in July 2020.

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