BLANCHESTER — Benches and tables may be coming to downtown Blanchester, if a proposed piece of legislation passes as presented.
The ordinance, if approved, would allow “eating establishments” to have a bench or table abutting their business on a village sidewalk. The ordinance affects the downtown blocks of Main Street and Broadway Street.
No more than two benches and two tables could be installed.
Blanchester Village Solicitor Andrew McCoy presented the legislation Thursday at council, and Blanchester Mayor John Carman said businesses had expressed an interest in the legislation.
McCoy suggested that council insert language limiting how many feet a table or bench could extend into the sidewalk.
Those businesses that wished to have an outdoor bench or table would need to file for a permit from the zoning office. Violation of the ordinance, according to McCoy, would be a misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine. Each day of violation would constitute a separate offense.
Council member Dave Wallace asked if the ordinance explicitly stated whose liability the bench would be. McCoy said it doesn’t, but said that any bench or table used by a business would be the liability of that business, not the village’s.
McCoy said the permitting process could require a business to show they have sufficient liability insurance and could be included in the ordinance.
Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt said the village had an ordinance from decades ago that restricted blocking sidewalks and asked for its removal. Reinbolt asked council to repeal that ordinance.
McCoy said that would be fine, and he added that the ordinance he drafted would invalidate conflicting ordinances.
The ordinance would not allow for vending machines on sidewalks.
No vote was held Thursday for or against the ordinance.
“We can take it, look it over and we can have planning committee meet again now that we have something more tangible to review, and we can actually set those measurements (restricting table lengths) and bring it back to council at the next meeting,” Carman said.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.