By Lindsay Emery
The North Castle Town Board adopted a resolution last week that extends the temporary outdoor dining permit regulations by extending restaurants permits until the end of the year so that restaurants can put up tents outside.
Building Inspector Robert Melillo met with business owners to see whether they would be interested in continuing outdoor dining with the addition of a tent or heater if it were to be approved by the board and found that many restaurant owners were in agreement and would look to extend their permits.
Instead of filing new paperwork, Melillo said that the permits will be renewed in the Building Department’s office and no additional paperwork would be required at this time if a restaurant already acquired a permit. The permits would only need to be modified to include the tents if a restaurant had not already done so.
The installation of a tent and any additional seasonal heating by a restaurant would also need to abide by the New York State fire code, Melillo’s memo stated. A tent with walls would be considered indoors by the state.
“I believe talking with the state a little bit, they’re considering that indoors so it’s going to be 50% [occupancy] because it’s an enclosed area,” Melillo said.
North Castle Supervisor Michael Schiliro pointed out that the combination of both indoor and outdoor seating at 50 percent occupancy could potentially equate to full seating inside of the restaurant. The board passed the outdoor dining resolution during the regularly scheduled meeting before discussing the possibility of amending the zoning section for the lumberyard project.
Instead of requiring the single structure building to provide 20% AFFH units, the new legislation would cut the percentage of AFFH units in half to 10%. Councilman Jose L. Berra recounted his past experiences with developer Michael Fareri and whether this was the type of precedent the board should set for future builds.
“Particularly, he might just line his pockets more either because the economics are so good from recent changes due to COVID in the market, or related to that, he might just go ahead and sell the property,” Berra said. “I believe he’s had it up for sale before.”
Other members of the board expressed that they would be in favor of the legislation if it would help get the project developed and progress the state of the town.
Schiliro explained that the zoning is the same and that the applicant would have to produce 75% of the project before June 30, 2022 for the 10% AFFH to be applicable.
“That provides me with some comfort that I’m willing to consider this if it aids in getting this project developed,” Schiliro said.
The board voted 4-1 in favor of considering to receive the proposed local law that covers AFFH, with Berra voting against.
The next North Castle Town Board meeting will be Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.