BERLIN – Town officials granted two downtown restaurants permission to set up café tables and chairs on the sidewalk.
On Aug. 13, the town council voted to give owners of The Globe and DiFebo’s permission to set up tables and chairs on the sidewalk in front of their establishments. Town staff said the furniture would not impact accessibility.
“Both do comply with accessibility standards,” said Dave Engelhart, the town’s planning director.
According to Engelhart, town code doesn’t permit the placement of items such as tables and chairs on the sidewalk without the express permission of the council. That, he explained, was why he was presenting requests from The Globe and DiFebo’s. He said DiFebo’s had previously been granted permission for two tables on the sidewalk and wanted to add two more. Because a resident had expressed concern about the request, Engelhart said he measured the sidewalk with the tables and the restaurant’s sandwich sign in place.
“With their sidewalk sign in place and the two tables, they already have over 48 inches of clearance,” he said, adding that just 36 inches of clearance was required.
Engelhart said The Globe, which previously only had tables in its entrance alcove, was seeking permission to add tables to the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. When asked about how they’d fit with a sidewalk sign, owner Jennifer Dawicki pointed out she didn’t use one.
“My menu is affixed to the building,” she said. “I do not have a sandwich board.”
Dawicki said she wanted to add four, four-seat tables to the sidewalk in front of the Globe.
“You’re asking to extend your business in the public way?” Councilman Dean Burrell said.
Dawicki said it sounded like that was what she was requesting.
Councilman Thom Gulyas asked if there were any liability issues for the town involved with the restaurants’ requests. Engelhart explained that the right of way belonged to the Maryland State Highway Administration.
The council voted 4-1, with Burrell opposed, to approve the restaurants’ requests.