SEA ISLE CITY — A proposal to extend the hours for sidewalk dining was dropped Tuesday after City Council failed to garner enough votes to take it up on introduction. But another ordinance to extend hours for outdoor music will be up for a final vote next month.
Sidewalk dining was implemented nine years ago as a boost for tourism and local eateries, which was largely successful.
Last month, the council began considering the idea of extending hours from 11 p.m. to midnight at the request of business owners.
“I think anything after 11 p.m. becomes ‘sidewalk drinking,’” said Councilwoman Mary Tighe, who voted against the ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting.
The ordinance allowing for the change was up for introduction and, if passed, would have required a second vote and public hearing before it would become law.
In addition to Tighe, Councilman Jack Gibson voted against the law. Councilmen John Divney and William Kehner voted for the ordinance.
Due to Councilman Frank Edwardi’s absence, the vote was a tie and the ordinance did not move forward.
Tighe said she thinks sidewalk dining is a good thing, but that those who want to enjoy their meals later can do so inside the restaurant.
“At what point do you cut it off?” Tighe said.
Since the 2008 law, restaurants have to have 6 feet of unobstructed walkway and outdoor dining hours restricted to 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for those serving alcohol.
Restaurant owners must apply for a permit for sidewalk dining, which is renewed annually. In 2016, 18 permits were issued.
A separate but related ordinance to allow music outdoors until 10 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. on weekends was approved on introduction at the May 20 meeting.
That ordinance, approved by a majority of council, will be up for a public hearing and final vote June 13.
During the meeting, second homeowner Sharon Kronmiller of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, asked the council not to allow later outdoor music. Kronmiller said she lives across the street from LaCosta Lounge and often has to shut her windows due to the noise coming from the bar.
“That would just be so terrible for all of us in that area,” she said.