BANGOR, Maine — As the weather starts getting warmer, some businesses and restaurant owners are starting to get ready to expand their services outdoors.
Tuesday night, the Business & Economic Development Committee decided that this year, downtown Bangor business and restaurant owners can pay half the total price of the permit fees needed to be able to seat people outdoors.
The "parklets" or outdoor dining tables on public sidewalks or parking spaces need a permit fee because there is value in the public space that businesses seek to use.
Permit fees are now set at:
- $250 for establishments serving alcohol with 13 seats or more
- $125 for establishments serving alcohol with 12 seats or less
- $50 for establishments NOT serving alcohol with 13 seats or more
- $25 for establishments not serving alcohol with 12 seats or less
"If you have a small restaurant and half the tables can't be used but now they've got a space outside, where they can make up for that, I think it's crucial! I've heard from two or three restaurant owners saying that the ability to do that last year saved their business," said Jeff Wallace, the code enforcement director for the City of Bangor.
Permits were made valid for an entire year and are no longer seasonal. This change allows businesses to maximize their potential usage all throughout the year.
The original permit fees will be reinstated in 2022, those will be: $500 for establishments serving alcohol with 13 seats or more, $250 for establishments serving alcohol with 12 seats or less, $100 for establishments not serving alcohol with 13 seats or more, $50 for establishments not serving alcohol with 12 seats or less.
Wallace said there are both staff and hard costs associated with this program, including significant staff time spent by numerous departments in reviewing and approving the permit applications, verifying their insurance, determining if liquor licenses were extended to the new area, checking materials, and setting up jersey barriers, among other things.
In response to the pandemic, the City Manager issued an executive order that allowed a “fee holiday” in 2020 for these permits, meaning last year there was no fee at all for the parklet or outdoor fee permit.