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Mayor Keller Supporting Restaurants to Expand Outdoor Dining

Allowing sidewalk seating, expanding to parking lot seating, and exploring street closures all on the table to help restaurants reopen

May 27, 2020

Following the State’s announcement that restaurants will be able to open patio dining with restrictions, Mayor Tim Keller announced that, for the second summer in a row, the City of Albuquerque will allow restaurants to add sidewalk seating. The mayor will also work to expand outdoor seating into parking lots, where it makes sense to do so. Mayor Keller directed the Planning Department to assist local restaurants as they open, expand, or build new patio seating to take advantage of the State’s order.

In the short-term, the measures are intended to support local restaurants struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, helping them safely bring diners back to tables as the city continues to re-open. Over the long-term they are aimed at increase ‘place making’ opportunities to help invigorate the city and local business.

“Supporting our local businesses has been high priority, and it’s only become more important during this pandemic,” stated Mayor Keller. “We want to help as many local small businesses stay afloat as possible, so we’re removing obstacles while keeping the public safe.”

The City also invited neighborhood leaders, MainStreet organizations and merchant organizations to explore the closure of city streets to vehicle traffic to further expand outdoor dining.

While the barrier section of the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) will not be enforced, the City still requires that participating businesses obtain a permit for using the right-of-way. Permit reviews will ensure adequate clearance on the sidewalk for accessibility and will be processed as quickly as possible. Permit applications can be found at www.cabq.gov/planning.

To support restaurants who do not currently have a patio space, but wish to add one, the Planning Department is standing by to assist with construction permits and other public safety requirements. The City of Albuquerque will waive the $500 outdoor seating application fee for the next three months. The annual fee for the use of the city right-of-way ($2.50 per square foot) and the requirement for insurance to indemnify the city will still be applicable.

The City's delayed enforcement does not override requirements of the State of New Mexico Alcohol & Gaming Division requiring a divider when businesses serve alcoholic beverages.

Visit www.cabq.gov/planning or call (505) 924-3860 for more information.