Tulsa may soon be a friendlier place for outdoor cafes.
The rules and regulations for outdoor seating had been confusing to business owners. Now, the city is about to vote on a new permit program just in time for summer.
Hodges Bend in downtown Tulsa is about to double in size, and that could mean more outdoor seating.
But six months ago, the owner, Chip Gaberino, was finding the process to permit outdoor seating confusing and unorganized.
“That wasn’t business-friendly, much less friendly for the employees of the city to figure out how to address the issue,” said Gaberino.
On Wednesday, Nick Doctor, Chief of Community Development and Policy for the City of Tulsa, presented to the city council a newly revised and streamlined permit program – specifically for sidewalk cafes in Tulsa.
Under this program, instead of restaurant owners going through a process really geared towards permanent outdoor installations, “we’re viewing sidewalk cafes as the temporary installations that they are and something we want to encourage,” stated Doctor. “This new process makes it much easier to obtain a permit for sidewalk cafes.”
Some requirements have been scaled back and some fees reduced – something the City of Tulsa knew it needed to work on.
“It clears it up, makes it simple, and is a good example of things working well in the city,” said Gaberino.
The City Council is expected to take a final vote on the new program next week.