Open Restaurants / Sidewalk Cafes

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of City Planning (DCP) are proposing a citywide zoning text amendment that will allow the DOT to administer the Permanent Open Restaurant program (POR). The proposal will remove sidewalk café regulations from the Zoning Resolution to increase geography eligibility as sidewalk cafes will become part of a unified sidewalk and roadway outdoor dining program administered at DOT. More info here:

The Proposed Action would also remove any zoning geographic restrictions on sidewalk café eligibility in the program to allow any restaurant with an active DOHMH food service establishment license and ground floor frontage to apply for an Open Restaurant permit so long as they meet the siting criteria as established in the proposed DOT permanent Open Restaurants program.

Action(s) Necessary to Facilitate the Project
Revisions to provisions of the New York City Zoning Resolution (ZR) to the extent necessary to provide for the implementation, administration and operation of the Open
Restaurants Program, including:

  • ZR, Article 1, Chapter 2, relating to sidewalk café definitions;
  • ZR, Article 1, Chapter 4, relating to sidewalk cafe regulations;
  • ZR Section 22-00, to the extend that a sidewalk café may not be enlarged in R10H Districts;
  • ZR Section 32-411, to the extent such section does not allow for operable windows;
  • ZR Section 33-05 & 43-03, to clarify the compatibility of DOT café programs and sidewalk widening.
  • ZR Section 52-34, to the extent such section requires certain eating and drinking establishment uses in Residence Districts to be located within completely enclosed buildings;
  • ZR Section 73-243, to extent BSA special permit provisions allowing for eating and drinking establishments would preclude operable windows;
  • ZR Section 83-05 to extent that it would preclude operable windows in a Limited Commercial District;
  • ZR Section 97-03, 97-13, 97-14, 97-412 to the extent such section limits the locations of sidewalk cafes in the Special 125th Street District;
  • ZR Section 109-02, to the extent such section imposes any condition on the use of public streets and sidewalks for the maintenance of sidewalk cafes or outdoor cafes by restaurants in the Special Little Italy District; and
  • ZR Section 117-03, 117-05, to the extent such section limits the locations of sidewalk cafes in the Special Long Island City Mixed-Use District.

Community Board comments and recommendations should be submitted by September 27, 2021.


Application materials

Presentation 6-22-21