Sidewalk cafe ban may be lifted in LIC and Sunnyside

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Image source: robnguyen01 on Flickr – an example of a sidewalk cafe on Astoria’s 30th Ave, where outdoor seating abounds

DNAinfo reports that the Department of Planning is looking into changing the zoning rules in LIC and Sunnyside so as to allow sidewalk cafes. There are parts of these neighborhoods where sidewalk cafes are banned, though at the same time you’ll see outdoor seating in those same areas, so it may be a bit confusing. Those businesses with sidewalk cafes are technically operating them illegally, even with city licenses. Penny Lee, a DCP Queens office rep, said at a recent Community Board 1 meeting, “We’re both legalizing existing sidewalk cafes in Hunters Point and then proposing to allow them throughout the special zoning district.”

Here are some of the details:

If approved, the amendment would lift restrictions on unenclosed sidewalk cafes along main commercial thoroughfares in Dutch Kills, Queens Plaza, Court Square, and Hunters Point, as well as a one-and-a-half block stretch of Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside, between 46th and 48th Streets, where they’re currently not allowed.

And here’s a map of the LIC area (click to enlarge):

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Image source: DNAinfo

Dominic Stiller, president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, is in favor of the change, and says ”We think they’ll bring a vibrancy, and help the residential aspect of the community.” Here’s hoping it can be all squared away by spring. Sidewalk cafes are a very popular element of dining in nearby Astoria, and there is a good chance they could be come popular in LIC, too. The especially bustling Vernon Boulevard could become even more convivial as a result.

City Looking to Allow More Sidewalk Cafes in Long Island City and Sunnyside [DNAinfo]