CLARION - Clarion Borough Council last week approved a request from Clarion River Brewing Co. for outdoor, sidewalk seating for dining customers.

The action follows discussion earlier this month when downtown business owner Jim Crooks and CRBC co-owner Bryan Smith asked council to consider sidewalk seating.

Council members supported the idea an effort to help downtown restaurants recover and grow after the COVID-19 emergency shut down dining-in opportunities and asked its housing and zoning committee to develop and review existing regulations for the move.

At its June 2 meeting, council encouraged the downtown restaurants to submit their outdoor seating requests before the June 16 meeting so council could approve them as soon as possible.

Crooks said several restaurant owners told him they supported the idea.

Clarion Borough Council President Carol Lapinto told the CLARION NEWS borough secretary Linda Lavan Preston contacted downtown restaurant owners to remind them of the opportunity.

In the end though, Clarion River Brewing Co. was the lone applicant for the outdoor seating permits.

The outdoor seating at CRBC does have a few limitations.

The outdoor seating cannot extend beyond six feet from the front of the building along Main Street. Three feet of sidewalk must remain open to public use.

Tables and chairs can be placed along the Main Street sidewalk from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the tables and chairs must be taken in at night.

Doorways must remain unobstructed.

The state Bureau of Liquor Control must approve the outdoor serving of alcohol and the borough stipulates no alcohol-based drinks can be served before noon on Sundays.

CRBC must provide an insurance certificate naming the borough as an insured party while the outdoor seating is in operation.

In applying for permission to establish the outdoor seating, Smith wrote, "This approval is important for many reasons for my business. During this time of limited capacity indoors, it would allow me to serve more customers and increase the volume of food and beer (sales)

"This is something patrons have been asking for since we have opened and I am excited to have this possibility."

Council approved the request by a 6-0 margin with council member Jason Noto absent.

Smith did not attend the meeting.

Council member and housing and zoning committee chair Rachel Roberts reminded the owners of other businesses along Main Street who want to place outdoor tables or seating to submit a written proposal and request to the borough office.

Lapinto noted Michelle's Caf already has permission for limited outdoor seating and The Capt. Loomis Restaurant still rents a section of borough sidewalk for outdoor seating but does not currently use the space for that purpose.