Outdoor dining in Edgartown took another step toward reality Wednesday after selectmen asked town administrator James Hagerty to work with town department heads to put together a “hybrid model” that could be discussed and possibly voted on on Monday.
In April, the Edgartown Board of Trade sent out an Island-wide survey in tandem with the Island-wide business task force to get input from business owners, who largely supported expanded seating, but no changes to traffic patterns.
“We saw strong support for the allowance for restaurants to expand on their property or other allotted space for outdoor dining and seating, without the changing of traffic patterns,” Erin Ready, executive director of the Edgartown Board of Trade, said. “We also saw strong support for loading zones to be allowed for curbside pickup.”
Ready also said if these policies were approved, the Board of Trade would suggest having an application process for restaurants to fill out their intentions.
Town officials have been working with business owners to develop a plan for outdoor dining amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During a Wednesday selectmen’s meeting on Zoom, Hagerty said the hybrid model would most likely consist of Main Street remaining open, parts of the Church Street parking lot blocked off, and the area of lower Main Street to be decided upon when businesses submit their applications for having expanded dining.
“The hybrid model is essentially parklets, with the main traffic corridors remaining open,” Hagerty said.
Police Chief Bruce McNamee, who was on the call, said outdoor dining could work, but said he’d like to have as minimal an impact on vehicle and pedestrian traffic as possible.
Rosewater owner Christopher Celeste voiced his support for the “outside the box” thinking on implementing outdoor dining, and said he’d like to see less long-term parking to create more space for curbside pickups.
Geoghan Coogan, whose family owns the Wharf, said he would prefer no traffic on lower Main Street. Both McNamee and Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer agreed that if traffic continued on lower Main Street, then a barrier of some sort would be set up to separate dining tables from vehicle traffic.
Hagerty said he would work with the town’s department heads, and hopefully have a plan for selectmen to discuss on Monday.