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Downtown Raleigh's sidewalk seating rules get real

Posted September 8, 2015

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— Effective Tuesday, bars and restaurants in downtown Raleigh must register with the city or face fines if they offer outdoor seating. An establishment's outdoor footprint is determined by its indoor seating size.

Businesses that don't have an application on file with the city by Tuesday have 10 days to submit one, or the city will remove any furniture from the sidewalk.

Fines also kick in Tuesday for businesses who allow patrons to congregate outside after the city's late-night curfew – midnight Sundays through Thursdays and 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The limits on seating size and time are part of a three-month pilot program approved by city council after complaints from downtown residents about crowded sidewalks downtown and late-night noise. The ordinance went into effect Aug. 14, with establishments being warned about violations. That grace period ended Tuesday, and violators will face fines, according to Derrick Remer, Raleigh's manager of special events and emergency preparedness.

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  • Josiah Steele Sep 8, 2015
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    These rules still make no sense. They spent millions attracting businesses downtown to create a vibrant atmosphere and now they want to indiscriminately stifle it. Yes, there needs to be some regulation, but these broad and unintelligible actions are not the solution.
    Definitely not buying the "complaints from downtown residents." Most of the affected area has either new, or no housing, so residents knew they were buying into "city life."
    Don't like the noise, move out of downtown, you'll be happier and save a ton of money
    This smells of outside interference (other developing districts) or a cash grab for the city.
    Its rather convenient that the grace period ends right before Hopscotch.