Patrons of Folklore Coffee & Co. on the square in downtown Elizabethtown soon will be able to eat at tables outside.
Owner Ryan Bracken came to last night's Borough Council meeting with a request to place four tables with two or three chairs each under the awning of the coffee shop. He said Folklore won't offer service at the tables but that patrons will order their food and drinks inside and bring them outside.
Under the borough's zoning ordinance, outdoor seating is permitted in the Central Business District -- essentially the downtown area -- as a conditional use. It requires a hearing before Borough Council and a $500 application fee.
However, borough officials have been reviewing and working on amending sections of the zoning ordinance, including the section regulating outdoor seating. Given that the ordinance is under review, Borough Council authorized the borough to waive the application fee and enter a temporary agreement with Bracken for Folklore to have the seating through the end of this year. By then, council and borough staff hope to have the updated zoning ordinance in place.
Zanzibar, a previous coffee shop in the same location as Folklore, also had a similar agreement with the borough for outdoor seating.
Other establishments downtown are encouraged to request similar permission for outdoor seating, but borough staff will review the requests on a case-by-case basis. This is because some sidewalk areas might not have adequate area to accommodate four tables -- and pedestrians do need clearance to walk without endangering themselves by stepping off the curb and into the street.
By allowing outdoor seating, Borough Council is hopeful this is a step in the right direction to encourage more people to visit downtown Elizabethtown.