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Yardley council extends outdoor dining through November

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Yardley Borough will continue to see more extensive outdoor dining for several more weeks after Borough Council at its Sept. 7 meeting voted unanimously to extend the relaxation of rules affecting such dining through Nov. 30.
The move is another attempt to aid restaurant owners whose businesses have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, council members explained. Allowing more outdoor dining is also a nod to safety at a time when the virus is staging a comeback via its Delta variant, they added.
Also at the meeting, council voted unanimously to approve a new four-year contract for its four full-time police officers and go out to bid on Phase Two of the North Main Street sidewalk installation project.
The continued accommodation for outdoor dining comes with the condition that restaurants don’t use it to exceed their total seating capacities, though that provision is not specifically spelled out in writing.
One resident complained the lack of specificity and “guard rails” is leading to abuses and that in some cases, capacities are being exceeded by as much as four times.
But councilman Uri Feiner said he thought the accommodation on outdoor dining was going well.
“I’d like to see what we can do to indefinitely extend it, and if there’s a problem, we can reevaluate,” he said.

But others countered that weather conducive to outdoor dining will pretty much be over by Nov. 30, and that closing in and installing portable heaters in tents would negate the safety advantages of outdoor dining.
Any further extension of the relaxation of rules governing outdoor dining should probably be done through a formal ordinance amendment process, council President David Bria added.
The new police contract succeeds the current deal, which is also for four years. The new document kicks in Jan. 1, runs through Dec. 31, 2025 and gives the four officers 5 percent salary increases each year of the deal.
It covers a sergeant, corporal and two patrol officers currently earning annual salaries ranging from $57,000 to $80,435. The deal does not cover full-time Police Chief Joseph D. Kelly III – who has a separate contract with the borough – or Yardley’s 10 part-time police officers.
Councilwoman Kim Segal-Morris, who introduced the motion to approve the new contract, said it brings Yardley PD “in line with similar size departments.”
Phase Two of the sidewalk project involves installing another 1,200 feet of sidewalk on the east side of North Main. The borough is using a $312,147 grant from PennDOT to fund this phase.


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