Finkelman, Vella-Wilkinson, Morales, and Cortvriend
Date Introduced: January 27, 2023
Referred To: House SmallBusiness
It is enacted by the GeneralAssembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 45-24-46.5 of the General Laws in Chapter 45-24 entitled "Zoning Ordinances"is hereby amended to read as follows:
45-24-46.5. Special provisions — Emergency declaration modifications Special provisions — Emergency declaration for COVID-19 modifications.
(a) A moratorium is hereby imposed on the enforcement of any statute, regulation or municipal ordinance or zoning regulation that would penalize any food business or food service establishment, as defined in § 21-27-1, or bar as defined in § 23-20.10-2, for any alterations or modifications to its business made in order to comply with any directives, executive orders, or restrictions issued by the governor, principal executive officer of a political subdivision, or the director of the departmentof health basedupon anemergency declaration issued pursuant to § 30-15-9 or § 30-15-13 related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(b) The moratorium imposed pursuant to this section shall continue throughout the emergency declaration and shall remain effective until April 1, 2023 December 31, 2023. During this period, all approved nonconforming uses adopted to comply with the any COVID-19 emergency declaration shall be permitted to continue. The moratorium shall include, but not be limited to, alterations or modification related to or concerning outdoor dining, physical structure alterations, and/or parking capacity standards.
(c) During the moratorium, all towns and cities shall conduct a comprehensive review of any relevant ordinances, regulations or rules, which need to be amended that apply to outdoor dining specifically to reflect the compelling public purpose for businesses and the public to continue outdoor dining as a permanent feature of dining in this state.
SECTION 2. Title 45 of the General Laws entitled "TOWNS AND CITIES" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following chapter:
OUTDOOR DINING ACT
This chapter shallbe known and may be cited as "Outdoor Dining Act."
As used in the chapter, the following words and terms shallhave the following meanings:
(1) "Food service establishment" mean any fixed or mobile restaurant, coffee shop, cafeteria,short-order café,luncheonette, grill, tea room, sandwich shop, soda fountain, tavern, bar, cocktail lounge, night club, roadside stand, industrial feeding establishment, cultural heritage education facility, private, public or nonprofit organization or institution routinely serving food, catering kitchen, commissary or similar place in which food or drink is prepared for sale or for service on the premises or elsewhere,and any other eating or drinking establishment or operation where food is served or provided for the public with or without charge.
(2) "Outdoor dining" means the use of an adjacent, outside area by a food service establishment for the same eating and drinking activities that occur within the establishment.
(3) "Outdoor dining area"means any designated area outside the principal building of a food service establishment which is designed, established, or regularly usedfor consuming food or drink. Outdoor dining areas do not include an unenclosed dining area at a private residence.
(4) "Restaurant" means eating establishment, including, but not limited to, coffee shops, cafeterias,and private and public school cafeterias,that gives or offers for sale food to the public, guest or employees, as well as kitchens and catering facilities in which food is prepared on the premises for serving elsewhere. The term"restaurant"shallinclude a bar area within the restaurant.
45-24.7-3. Outdoor dining compliance.
A food service establishment that offers outdoor dining shall comply with all accessibility requirements to which places of public accommodations are subject.
45-24.7-4. Regulation of outdoor dining.
(a) The state or a municipality may enforce any statutes, regulations or ordinances that relate to public safety or excessive noise.
(b) No state agency, department or any municipality shall:
(1) Adopt any rule, regulation or ordinance prohibiting outdoor dining;
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(2) Adopt any rule, regulation or ordinance limiting the time of year whenoutdoor dining may be offered; or
(3) Require a food service establishment to remove any alterations, modifications or physical structures built on private property made for outdoor dining in compliance with § 45-24- 46.5.
SECTION 3. This act shalltake effect upon passage. ======== LC000526 ========
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BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
A N A C T
RELATING TO TOWNS AND CITIES – ZONING ORDINANCES
This actwould extend the moratorium imposed on the enforcementof statutes,regulations or ordinances by municipalities or state agencies regarding food service establishment alterations or modifications made in order to comply with the emergency declaration(s) issued as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The moratorium would remain in place until the earlier of either December 31, 2023, or until terminated by joint resolution of the assembly. This act would also require cities and towns to conduct a comprehensive review of all ordinances which may need to be amended that apply to outdoor dining specifically to reflect the desire for businesses and the public to continue outdoor dining as a permanent feature of dining in this state. The actwould also establish a new chapter in title 45 for outdoor dining. Municipalities and state agencies would be prevented from prohibiting outdoor dining.
This act would take effect upon passage.
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