Outdoor Downtown Dining

On May 15, the Lafayette City-Parish Council adopted the Outdoor Dining Ordinance, allowing for “parklets,” outdoor dining, push carts and outdoor merchandise sales in Downtown Lafayette. The effort is the latest measure aimed at increasing vibrancy and enhancing the overall in the downtown area.
Outdoor seating and vendors can provide a lively environment and enhance the character of the area while still preserving pedestrian and other public uses. Allowing for sidewalk or platform dining and shopping is the next step in working towards the vibrant and culturally rich Downtown envisioned in the Downtown Action Plan. 
As a named priority of the Downtown Action Plan, outdoor dining allows downtown restauranteurs or merchandisers the ability to acquire a permit to establish a temporary, removable extension of their physical indoor space to the outdoor space adjacent to their building. The area may be on the sidewalk or located on a parklet, which is a temporary space or platform occupying an existing curbside parking spot.  
In addition to enhanced dining options and experiences for downtown visitors, the ordinance allows for the outdoor sale of merchandise, providing economic development opportunities for entrepreneurs and attracting stable vendors as assets to the area.
Depending on the number of initial applicants, permits may be granted via a competitive application process given limited spaces as described in the ordinance. Applications for the first round open today and responses are due on July 12 to Cathie Gilbert at cgilbert@lafayettela.gov.
The permitting process will be overseen by a committee, which includes representatives of the police, fire and public works departments, Downtown Development Authority and appointees by the City-Parish Council, to ensure public safety and fair and equitable review process.