November 27, 2021

Common Council OKs new outdoor seating areas

Cortland Standard File Photo

Main Street in downtown Cortland is shown in this file photo.

The Cortland Common Council unanimously passed a resolution during a special meeting Wednesday night authorizing the creation of four outdoor seating areas for downtown restaurants.

The resolution creates outdoor seating:

  • In the pocket park at 14 Main St.
  • In the alley between 31 and 33-35 Main St.
  • In the Haskell Place parking lot behind Brix and the Downtown Deli at 54-60 Main St.
  • At the east end of Clayton Avenue between the Dark House Tavern and the Cortland Post Office.

The seating areas at the end of Clayton Avenue and at Haskell Place will require the temporary closure of the Main Street end of Clayton Avenue and the West Court Street side of Haskell Place.

Several public parking spots behind Brix and the Downtown Deli might also be temporarily converted into seating areas, Mayor Brian Tobin said.

Business owners will now work with city officials to set up the seating areas, he said.

Tobin said he called the special meeting to get the outdoor seating set up as soon as possible. The additional outdoor seating is needed because the state’s Phase 3 re-opening, expected to go into effect Friday, will allow restaurants to open with only 50 percent of their usual indoor seating.

“However, 50 percent in a lot of cases is not half,” he said, because social distancing requirements can further cut into a business’s available seats. Providing new outdoor seating areas will help remedy these limits, he said.

Tobin encouraged other businesses to suggest plans for creating more outdoor seating areas.

“The proposal today is by no means the end,” Tobin said. “Make a deal. … If there are any other businesses that are contemplating doing this, then I ask them to reach out to my office ASAP.”

The resolution was also amended:

  • To let the mayor create more outdoor seating spaces as requests are received, provided the plans meet with the approval of city police, fire and code departments.
  • To waive the city’s open container law for these seating areas.
  • To expire Aug. 22, unless an extension is approved.