Two downtown Delaware businesses are planning to make their outdoor seating availability a permanent fixture moving forward. During Wednesday’s meeting of the Delaware Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), both Staas Brewing Company and Olivina Taproom had certificate of appropriateness applications approved that will allow their temporary patios to remain in service.
Outdoor seating became a critical commodity during the COVID-19 pandemic when indoor seating was limited due to social distancing parameters. With businesses looking for ways to maximize available space in any way possible, temporary patios were approved by the city and became a popular avenue to partially remedy the increasing burden being placed on restaurants.
Now, with those regulations having long since expired, so, too, have the temporary use permits for the patios. Decisions on the appropriateness of the patios have returned to the traditional process of going before HPC.
“With the city’s emergency order lifted but the pandemic’s ill effects still present to a lesser degree, if businesses wish to continue with and establish a permanent patio area on private property in the Historic District, the city is returning to its usual zoning process of having these types of patios reviewed and approved by the Historic Preservation Commission,” documents for the requests stated.
Staas Brewing Company, located at 31 W. Winter St., plans to make the outdoor patio to the rear of the building a permanent fixture. The patio includes a total of 10 tables, along with chairs and umbrellas, allowing for a total of 40 additional patrons at capacity.
For Olivina Taproom, the request centers on its side patio, which sits directly south of the building located at 44 S. Sandusky St. Last year, the restaurant began offering a lunch and dinner menu, as well as alcoholic beverages, to help to overcome some of the pandemic-related losses. Now, Olivina plans to continue offering the outdoor seating, which can accommodate up to 20 additional patrons, for drink consumption and tables to enjoy takeout orders.
Both businesses also fall within the city’s established Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, commonly referred to as the DORA, allowing patrons to purchase beverages and consume them outside the building.
Planning and Community Development Director Dave Efland said of the application, “One of the things that the COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to do was to try to help our businesses, obviously, but also to experiment a little bit. Part of that experimentation was temporary COVID permits, so this exact activity has occurred out here for the last two years, and, to my knowledge, there haven’t been any complaints. It’s been well-run, and I expect that to continue with these applicants.”