Patio Extension Program

On Monday, May 18, 2020, the Plymouth City Commission passed a resolution authorizing City Administration to make additional public space available for use by dining establishments to expand their service area within the scope of the rules and regulations of the State of Michigan.

In addition, the resolution designates public spaces in front of or on the side of a business as space available for use; this would include parking spaces.

During the 2021 year, the City of Plymouth once again allowed dining establishments the ability to use public spaces adjacent to their business, including parking spaces to be used for patio extensions.

Over the past two years, the city has spent considerable time, energy, and effort to assist in the installation, maintenance, and removal of patio extensions for its business community. With the health orders, restrictions, etc. changing, the City of Plymouth is still interested in helping its business communities as they rebound from the past couple of years, and it has taken the feedback from the businesses in its creation of the 2023 City of Plymouth Patio Extension Program.

While the City of Plymouth continues its discussions on potential long term “parklets,” one idea that has been discussed from the business community related to outdoor dining and patio extensions is that of dining platforms.

Dining Platform Location and Placement
A dining platform is defined as a platform operated by an existing restaurant, bar, or other food serving establishment which sells food and beverage for immediate consumption, located on the adjacent parking space(s), alleys, streets, or other public property areas, for patrons and other persons, subject to design guidelines.

The dining platform must only be accessible from the sidewalk area and not from the street. The platform area shall use readily removable tables, chairs, umbrellas, railings, and planters. The perimeter must be secured by a railing and open to the air, except for any coverage provided by umbrellas.

The dining platform cannot exceed the width of the applicant’s storefront or public street frontage. If the parking space in front of the applicant’s frontage exceeds the width of the building, the applicant may request the use the entire parking space, within reason.

The dining platform must leave no less than a two-foot (2’) clearance offset on each end contained within the footprint of the designated parking spaces being used for the patio extension from adjacent parking spaces. A two-foot (2’) clearance offset will apply to the side that faces the traffic.

The dining platform must be flush with the sidewalk or top of curb level. There may be no more than a ½ inch horizontal space between the curb/sidewalk and the edge of the dining platform.

The platform must provide a flat surface and match the slope of the existing street or 2%, whichever is less.

The dining platform shall not interfere with any public service facility or utility, such as telephone pole, light pole, traffic signal, tree, planter, mailbox, sign pole, mailbox, bench, planter, fire hydrant, etc. These elements may be incorporated into the design element of the platform as they are permanent fixtures in the city but will not be removed or relocated.

The dining platform must be designed and constructed in such a way to allow for the flow of storm water to run adjacent to the curb unobstructed.

The dining platform cannot be anchored into the street or existing curb.

Operation of Dining Platform

Permits for the 2023 City of Plymouth Patio Extension Program to include dining platforms may be issued for a seven-month period from April 1 until November 1 and must be completely removed by November 6, 2023.

The owner of the dining platform will assume full responsibility for damage to public property caused by the placement and operation of a dining platform.

The owner will also repair any damage to public property at their own expense.

The maintenance of the dining platform shall be the responsibility of the business owner including, but not limited to surface treatment and cleaning, litter control, rodent control, sweeping, and snow & ice removal. The sidewalk and public property shall be kept neat and clean and free from any substance that may cause damage to the sidewalk or public property (including parking spaces) or cause pedestrian injury.

Dining platforms must remain clear of litter, food scraps, and soiled dishes at all times. This includes areas on, around, next to, or underneath the platform. In addition, the outdoor dining area must remain clear or plates, cups, utensils, accoutrements, etc. when the outdoor dining platform is outside regular business hours. Chairs, tables, umbrellas, etc. must be kept contained and secured on the outdoor dining area and organized within reason at the end of each service day.

All alcoholic beverages to be served at dining platforms shall be prepared within the existing restaurant, and alcoholic beverages shall only be served to patrons seated at tables. The operator of the dining platform shall take all necessary action to procure the appropriate license(s) or permit(s) from the MLCC to serve alcoholic beverages on the dining platform and shall comply with all other laws and ordinances concerning the serving of alcoholic beverages in the state of Michigan.

Any establishment granted a permit by the city manager to operate a patio extension on sidewalks, parking spaces, or public property shall pay to the city treasurer a fee in the amount established by resolution of the city commission.

To provide the most flexibility and provide options for the food servicing establishments, the outdoor dining platform may be purchased as a kit from a vendor or constructed using raw materials so long as either option conforms to the guidelines listed below. This section does not attempt to address each and every option available but provides reasonable framework for the establishment to reference while planning and submitting the plan to the city for consideration and approval.

The dining platform structure must be constructed of quality materials, such pressure treated wood, or wood composite, vinyl, metal, etc. The floor of the dining platform must be constructed out of a composite material or wood (such as Ipe) in a neutral color such as brown or grey and reflect the characteristics of the restaurant or food establishment. The floor may also be constructed out of stone or tile in the same neutral colors as exampled above.

Dining platform railings must be constructed of a rigid material (wrought iron, cast aluminum, steel, wood, composite, etc.) and be black, neutral, or a color matching the primary color of the building. Rails must meet specifications as defined by the MLCC for liquor serving establishments and any pertinent building codes. Rails must be attached securely to the platform and cannot be loose standing.

Dining furniture must be consistent with the quality and character of current outdoor dining permit furniture or other outdoor furniture commonly found in outdoor dining areas.

Umbrellas must be constructed of canvas/synthetic canvas material and be aesthetically compatible with the color scheme of the front building façade and contain no logo or advertising. Umbrellas when open shall be fully contained within the dining platform area and shall not hang over into any traffic lane and/or sidewalk area.

Lighting in the style of tabletop or accessory lighting such as “string lights” will be allowed on the outdoor dining platform.
Each outdoor dining platform shall contain a form of planter with live planting(s) maintained through the patio season (October 31).