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Operation Doylestown Launches - Relaxes Zoning Regulations to Allow Expanded Outside Dining, Sales

Operation Doylestown Launches - Relaxes Zoning Regulations to Allow Expanded Outside Dining, Sales | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

Doylestown Borough officials and merchants have banded together, launching Operation Doylestown, an initiative to relax zoning regulations and increase support for local businesses as they open their doors, while abiding by health department guidelines.

 

Standing in an alleyway by Villa Capri, Doylestown Borough Manager John Davis pointed to about 10 rectangular shapes marked with red tape on the pavement, where tables can now be set up to create safe boundaries for diners of the Italian eatery. In front, where cars once parked, staff wiped down barrel-style cafe tables adorned with flowers and covered with umbrellas.

 

“When life gives you lemons, make limoncello,” said Matt Mannino, owner of Villa Capri, setting up the outside cafe one recent day. “It feels very European.”

 

Davis said Villa Capri’s new setting is an example of how business owners and borough officials are banding together, tapping into creativity and flexibility, to help merchants stay afloat.

 

Together, they launched Operation Doylestown, an initiative to relax zoning regulations and increase support for local businesses as they open their doors, while abiding by health department guidelines. Alleyways, parking spaces and sidewalks throughout the borough have been converted for outside dining and retail sales.

 

While creating a socially distanced experience, new outside marketplaces are sprouting up in pockets of the borough during scheduled evenings and weekends. Street closures are also being planned to allow for social distancing and safe shopping on designated days. Parking fees and open-container laws have been relaxed temporarily.

 

“As long as a State of Emergency order is in place, we have the ability to permit some of these things to happen,” said Davis, who is working with businesses to create space that meets COVID guidelines and is safe.

 

Davis said the borough will continue to brainstorm ways to continue giving support. “It will be through our own ways and from the ground up. … we’ll go door to door and find out what people need to stay above water and get through this.”

 

“We have to be nimble and flexible; it’s a new world out there.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Meanwhile, in Newtown Township, more talk and no action

 

At the June 15, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Work Session via Zoom, a draft of an Outdoor Sales & Dining Resolution was discussed. It's goal was to establish guidelines and policy for outdoor sales of merchandise and/or outdoor dining for existing businesses in Newtown Township during the COVID-19 pandemic. This resolution as based on one passed by another PA township. A major point of the discussion concerned how far must outdoor dining table be from passersby on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, no vote was taken as the resolution needed a minor edit.

 

While some Newtown Supervisors favored using parking spaces for outside sales, that idea did not move forward. Listen to the discussion here: https://bit.ly/NToutdoorRes

 

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Newtown News of Interest
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