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Yardley Borough weighs less restrictive outdoor dining ordinance


Outdoor dining became very popular in Yardley during the coronavirus pandemic, and borough officials are taking steps to make the practice smoother and easier.

Borough council voted 6-0 at its March 7 meeting to have its solicitor draft and advertise an amended outdoor dining ordinance. Among other things, it changes language in the current ordinance from outdoor dining will be allowed as a conditional accessory use, to outdoor dining will be permitted as a conditional use at restaurants with more than eight outdoor seats, and by right at restaurants with eight or fewer outdoor seats.

“The amendment will get rid of ambiguous language,” said Council President Caroline Thompson. “We’ve gotten a lot of complaints from businesses that the language was not clear.”

She estimated council will consider actually enacting the amended ordinance in late April, possibly at the April 18 meeting.

An informal review of the amended ordinance by the Bucks County Planning Commission praised borough officials for their proactive approach to making outdoor dining regulations more understandable.

“We have seen that outdoor dining is an effective way for communities across Bucks County to make attractive spaces for businesses, residents and visitors to dine, shop and connect with other individuals,” read a letter from the BCPC. “These changes to the borough’s zoning ordinance advance the borough’s economic goals to create a lively Main Street.”

In another action from the March 7 meeting, council voted 6-0 to approve permits for three upcoming events at Vault Brewing’s Tannery Taproom at 19 W. College Ave.: a pig roast June 10, Mini-Beerfest Aug. 12 (rain date Aug. 13) and Oktoberfest Sept. 30.

The approval came despite a request by some residents that a vote be held off until they had time to register more feedback. But in reading documents and background submitted by Vault Brewing officials, council members felt comfortable the company was complying with all requirements.

The Tannery Taproom had generated some controversy in the last few years after some outdoor events fairly early in the pandemic led to noise and other complaints from neighbors, and the approval of a kitchen addition including a smoker fueled complaints about more traffic and other concerns.

New guidelines set up by the borough require all pending event permits from the Tannery Taproom to come before council.

outdoor dining in Bucks County, Yardley Borough restaurants