Sugar Land City Council voted unanimously Aug. 4 to allow for the temporary use of parking spaces for outdoor dining tables until indoor dining occupancy restrictions are lifted or the state of disaster due to the coronavirus pandemic is terminated. Restaurant owners must submit a site layout to the city for approval first to ensure the plan meets location and safety conditions.
Other cities in Texas with similar plans or proposals include Houston, Denton and Frisco, said Lisa Kochich-Meyer, Sugar Land’s director of planning and development services.
Restaurants in Texas may only operate at 50% capacity indoors, but outdoor seating is not affected by that order.
“This is really needed,” Council Member Naushad Kermally said. “The order may say 50% [capacity] but there’s 15[%] or 20% of the occupancy being utilized [at certain establishments]. We’ve gotta keep these folks in business.”
The city’s ordinance change allows for the expanded dining areas as long as the parking is located in space adjacent to the restaurant, not within a designated handicap-accessible parking space or fire lane, and does not impede building exits or traffic flow. Permission from both the property owner and restaurant owner is also required.