Outdoor dining in New York faces legal challenges – Robb Report

Alfresco dining has been a lifeline for many New York restaurants over the past couple of years. It has also been a nuisance to some residents, who have complained about noise, litter and other conditions they find unfavorable.

The CUEUP alliance (Coalition United for Equitable Urban Policy) is a group trying to fight against the continuation of outdoor dining in the city. He recently filed a lawsuit in Manhattan State Supreme Court to stop the city from making the outdoor dining structures permanent, The New York Times reported this week. A previous lawsuit by the group ended with an order for the city to conduct an environmental review of the sheds, which the city is appealing.

Originally, in mid-2020, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an ordinance allowing restaurants to set up on the streets. Mayor Eric Adams continued to extend that order, while letting other pandemic-era accommodations, such as vaccine requirements and mask mandates, expire. Michael Sussman, an attorney for CUEUP, argued in the Time that it shows “there is no longer a public health emergency” and that Adams is going too far in his attempts to allow outdoor dining.

For her part, Adams expressed her support for outdoor dining, but acknowledged that it didn’t always meet ideal standards. “Anything I can do to help our restaurant industry which employs dishwashers, waiters, busboys and busgirls, it’s an important industry and it’s an indicator of our city,” he said. he said at a press conference on Monday. But “some of the outdoor eating places have become a hazard” and are “unsuitable”.

This is not the first time that a difference of opinion over the practice has been brought to court. Earlier this summer, a handful of restaurants were in a fight with their landlord, who wanted them to get rid of their outdoor dining structures because tenants who lived above the restaurants argued they were ruining the character of the neighborhood. . That sentiment was echoed in CUEUP’s recent lawsuit, which includes more than 30 affidavits from every borough except Staten Island detailing how outdoor dining has dissolved the city’s quality of life. “Where I used to smell the trees while I walked my dog, it now smells of rot and urine,” said a longtime Williamsburg resident.

Adams, who did not address the issue of executive overreach, said Monday that the CUEUP trial “will happen.” People on both sides of the issue will be waiting to see what that entails.