Questions about eCode360? Municipal users Join us daily between 12pm and 1pm EDT to get answers and other tips!
Town of Wakefield, MA
Middlesex County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Wakefield 5-14-2012 by Art. 26. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Licenses and permits — See Ch. 142.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 175.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17; 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 21]
It is unlawful for anyone to operate a sidewalk cafe without obtaining a sidewalk cafe street use permit from the Town Council and without complying with all the provisions of this chapter, provided that the requirements of obtaining a permit and permit procedures do not apply to street maintenance work performed by the Town of Wakefield or the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department, or street improvement work authorized and administered by the Director of Public Works. The permit contemplated hereby applies only to sidewalks located within public ways, as any cafe or other use of abutting property is governed by the Zoning Bylaws.
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the Town and its inhabitants from the unregulated installation, use or maintenance of outdoor dining areas on public streets, sidewalks and other public properties. The unregulated installation, use or maintenance of outdoor dining areas on public streets, sidewalks and other public properties will result in obstruction of sidewalks that will interfere with the public's right to unhampered passage thereon, will damage municipal property because of chaining street furniture to poles, traffic standards, street trees, and other fixtures, will interfere with the performance of required municipal services, will create unsightly conditions and will endanger the safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the Town.
FOOD SERVICE BUSINESS
Any entity regulated by the State Sanitary Code, 105 CMR 590.000.
PEDESTRIAN ZONE
The area or space of the public place or roadway that is reserved for the exclusive use of pedestrians. Street furniture, plantings, and other obstructions shall not protrude into this corridor.
PUBLIC PLACE
Includes streets, avenues, ways, boulevards, drives, places, alleys, sidewalks, and planting strips, squares, triangles, plazas, and right-of-way for public use and the space above or beneath its surface, whether or not opened or improved.
SIDEWALK CAFE
A portion of the public place in which tables and chairs are placed for the use of patrons consuming food or beverages, including alcoholic beverages, that is operated by a food service business located on abutting property.
SIDEWALK CAFE STREET USE PERMIT
A permit issued by the Wakefield Town Council to provide seating and/or to operate a food service business that provides food or alcoholic beverages on a public street or sidewalk. No person shall operate a food service business or sidewalk cafe unless such person has obtained a valid permit, to operate that business in such a manner, pursuant to this chapter.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
A. 
A sidewalk cafe street use permit is seasonal and expires on November 1 each year. Applications are available from the Town Council's office. The initial application fee is $300; renewals are $75 per year. Applications must be complete at the time of filing. The Town Council will prepare a legal notice that is posted at Town Hall and on the Town website and published in a local newspaper at least 14 and seven days and prior to the assigned hearing date. Notice is mailed by first-class mail to abutting property owners.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
B. 
Applicants for a sidewalk cafe street use permit must review and amend, as necessary: Zoning Board of Appeals decisions, Board of Health permits, common victualer's, entertainment, beer and wine, all alcoholic licenses and any other permits and licenses of the primary business and premises where the sidewalk cafe is proposed.
C. 
When a complete sidewalk cafe street use permit application is submitted, the Town Council will provide a notice form to the applicant. The notice form will include the application date, proposed sidewalk cafe dimensions, and comment period dates, as well as provide information on how the public can comment on the pending application. The applicant must post this notice in a prominent place at the proposed location, clearly visible from the adjacent sidewalk area. The notice form must be continuously posted for at least 10 business days before the public hearing. An inspector, under the direction of the Town Administrator, will verify the notice is posted during the public comment period.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
D. 
The hearing before the Town Council is open to public comment. The Town Council may disapprove an application or approve the application as submitted or conditionally approve the application for a sidewalk cafe street use permit. If approved, the applicant may request renewal of the sidewalk cafe street use permit on or before March 31 of each year. A sidewalk cafe street use permit is void when: the business changes ownership; the permit duration expires; or fees are not paid as required.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
E. 
The Town Council may modify the conditions of a sidewalk cafe street use permit, including permitted hours or days of operation, after providing the permittee with written notice 10 days before modifying the sidewalk cafe street use permit.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
F. 
All sidewalk cafe street use permits are of a temporary nature, vest no permanent rights, and are revocable. Sidewalk cafe street use permits shall not be transferable or assignable.
G. 
The Town Council may suspend any sidewalk cafe street use permit for transportation, public safety purposes, or to coordinate with parades and special events authorized and permitted by the Town Council.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
Applicants for a sidewalk cafe street use permit must complete and sign the sidewalk cafe street use permit application. By signing the permit application, the applicant agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the Town of Wakefield. A sidewalk cafe street use permit cannot be transferred or assigned. To submit a complete sidewalk cafe street use permit application, the applicant must provide the following information along with his or her signed application:
A. 
A certified abutters list of all property owners within 300 feet of the proposed site.
B. 
Three copies of a legible site plan including the following:
(1) 
North arrow;
(2) 
Name and location of adjoining streets or alleys;
(3) 
Width of adjacent sidewalks;
(4) 
Location of existing improvements (for example, utility poles, parking pay stations, bus shelters, sign posts, tree pits), identifying the distance of each from nearest edge of the proposed sidewalk cafe area;
(5) 
Location of property lines and dimensions of the sidewalk area proposed for cafe use;
(6) 
Sidewalk width remaining for pedestrian zone and pedestrian visual corridor;
(7) 
Location and dimensions of any proposed installations in the sidewalk area associated with the sidewalk cafe;
(8) 
Location of abutting building exits and entrances;
(9) 
Location and number of tables and chairs;
(10) 
If fencing, bollards and chains, or planters are proposed, details, including materials, dimensions, and installation method;
(11) 
Location of existing and proposed landscaping; and
(12) 
Location and description of adjacent parks, adjacent streets that are closed to traffic, or adjacent public plazas available for pedestrian travel.
(13) 
Letter of authorization form signed by the property or business owner, verifying that the sidewalk cafe will be operated by a food service business that is permitted by the Town of Wakefield's Health Department. This letter of authorization form can also be used to authorize an agent to apply for and obtain the sidewalk cafe permit on the owner's behalf.
(14) 
Use description listing:
(a) 
The anticipated periods of use during the year;
(b) 
The proposed hours of daily use; and
(c) 
Whether any liquor will be sold or consumed in the area to be covered by the sidewalk cafe street use permit. Include a copy of the liquor license.
(15) 
Certificate of $1,000,000 liability insurance with the Town of Wakefield as an additional policy holder. Include a copy of the certificate.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
If Board of Health review or additional permits are required, the Town Council will not issue a sidewalk cafe street use permit until all permit requirements are met.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17; 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 21]
A. 
Building Inspector review is not required for all proposed sidewalk cafes in the public right-of-way, but may be required in certain circumstances, including:
(1) 
If the only legal exit path is through the food service business, and if the Building Inspector determines that interior alterations are needed to comply with building code standards and limits to the number of occupants, then a building permit for the alterations may be required;
(2) 
To the extent that any cafe occupies any part of a lot adjacent to a sidewalk, it constitutes a use subject to the Zoning Bylaws for which approval from the Building Inspector is required.
B. 
If Building Inspector review or additional building permits are required, the Town Council will not issue a sidewalk cafe street use permit until all permit requirements are met.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
The following standards apply to all sidewalk cafes in a public place. The Town Council has the discretion to require more strict standards or require specific conditions to the sidewalk cafe street use permit given specific site characteristics.
A. 
No sidewalk cafe can occupy more than 100 square feet and must be adjacent to the building's property line street wall.
B. 
No sidewalk cafe can be within five feet of the curbline where diagonal parking is allowed.
C. 
The useable area of a sidewalk cafe must have an entrance/exit directly to the public place.
D. 
The sidewalk cafe must be accessible and detectable as required by ADA guidelines.
E. 
Only retractable, operable awnings that extend a maximum of 4 1/2 feet are allowed to cover sidewalk cafes.
F. 
No fixed or partial enclosures are allowed.
G. 
All furniture must be movable and not permanently affixed. All seating, tables, service furniture, planters, bollards, menu boards, podiums must be movable in order to accommodate wheelchair access.
H. 
The public place around the sidewalk cafe must meet ADA guidelines. (See clear pedestrian zone below.)
I. 
All bollards and fencing are detectable by cane.
J. 
Sidewalk cafes may not encroach into tree pits or the corner curb radius area.
K. 
Umbrellas, A-frame signs, portable signs, planters, or any other encroachments are not allowed in the pedestrian zone.
L. 
Electrical cords or strings of lights may not be strung over or be placed on the pedestrian zone.
M. 
No platforms or other site-leveling structures are allowed.
N. 
No heating elements are allowed within the footprint of the permitted sidewalk cafe area.
O. 
The installation and use of speakers and other amplified sound is not allowed.
A. 
A designated five-foot-wide linear pedestrian zone is required for all sidewalks. The pedestrian zone is measured from the outside edge of the sidewalk cafe fencing or fence post base to the nearest obstruction, for example, a tree pit or tree grate, news box, bicycle rack, sign post, or other similar object. If no obstruction exists, the pedestrian zone is measured to the back of the curb. The linear pedestrian zone shall be generally straight and with no sharp or jagged turns that impair pedestrian circulation. If the only ADA access path to the sidewalk cafe is through the building, the review and approval by the Building Inspector is required.
B. 
The Town Council may require more than the minimum pedestrian zone widths in order to provide for pedestrian passage, traffic management, or any other public use purpose. Examples of where the Town Councilors may require more than the minimum pedestrian zone width include, but are not limited to:
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
(1) 
Areas with high peak-period pedestrian volumes;
(2) 
When analysis suggests a wider pedestrian zone is necessary; or
(3) 
When approved street design plans call for additional width.
A. 
In addition to creating a five-foot clear pedestrian zone (above), setbacks are required from the following elements:
(1) 
Five feet from alleys, driveways, bus zone areas, disabled person parking zones, and commercial loading zones;
(2) 
Five feet from curb ramps, traffic signs, and utility poles, fire hydrants, bike racks, and other street fixtures; and
(3) 
Fifty feet from a residentially zoned parcel.
B. 
A larger setback distance may be required by the Town Council to provide for pedestrian passage, traffic management, or any other public use purpose.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
If the Building Inspector determines that interior alterations are needed to provide sufficient exiting, then a Building Inspector permit application for the alterations permit will be required. A clear path of travel must be maintained from any building exit, equal in width to the exit door. This clear path of travel must be free of obstructions, like fencing, and directly connect the building exit to the public place sidewalk area. The egress must be free of obstructions, including gates of any type.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
A. 
Sidewalk cafe location, seating areas, street furniture and pedestrian zones must be clearly identified on the required site plan for the sidewalk cafe street use permit application. The Town Council will review the application and determine if it is complete and meets the minimum requirements.
B. 
The review will include, but is not limited to:
(1) 
Consideration of recommendations from the Director of Public Works, Building Inspector, Health Department and Town Planner;
(2) 
Determining that the food service business is set back at least 50 feet from a residentially zoned parcel;
(3) 
Confirming that the letter of authorization is signed by the property or business owner and verifies that the sidewalk is an accessory use to an adjacent, existing food service business;
(4) 
Confirming that the applicant is the property or business owner or authorized agent as established on the letter of authorization form;
(5) 
Confirming that clearance, exiting, and setback requirements are met on the site plan;
(6) 
Confirming that any fencing details conform to installation and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements;
(7) 
Verifying insurance documentation meets the requirements as stated herein;
(8) 
Verifying public notice was posted on site during the public comment application period;
(9) 
Reviewing whether any additional permits are required, for example: sidewalk repair, or other site-related permits;
(10) 
Determining if the sidewalk cafe application needs to be routed to the Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Health or Building Inspector for additional review and permitting;
(11) 
Confirming that site conditions conform to the site plan; and
(12) 
Review of the daily operations plan, including hours of operation, setup and breakdown, methods of securing furniture, and daily cleaning of sidewalks.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
A. 
The Town Council may, as deemed appropriate, condition the sidewalk cafe street use permit to address:
(1) 
Design standards;
(2) 
Hours of operation and dates of use;
(3) 
Impacts associated with the sidewalk cafe activity;
(4) 
Lighting;
(5) 
Noise;
(6) 
Placement of signage, furniture, or equipment;
(7) 
Need for repairs or improvements to the public place in order to accommodate the sidewalk cafe or to ensure access to the use complies with the ADA;
(8) 
Pedestrian circulation, traffic management, or any public use purpose.
B. 
All permit-related encroachments shall be removed from the public place from October 15 to April 15 for snow plowing or when the street use permit expires;
C. 
Sidewalk cafes must be in compliance with all local and state liquor control laws.
D. 
The sidewalk cafe area may not be used for any use other than food and beverage service associated with the adjoining business. Outdoor storage or other uses are strictly prohibited.
A. 
The permittee shall maintain the sidewalk cafe and adjoining and abutting public place free of all refuse of any kind generated from operating the sidewalk cafe and his or her business.
B. 
Only materials and supplies used by the permittee for the daily operation of the sidewalk cafe may be located within the sidewalk cafe, and the permittee shall not store other supplies or other materials in the sidewalk cafe or public place.
C. 
The surface of the public place shall not be altered and fixtures of any kind shall not be installed in the public place unless authorized by the sidewalk cafe street use permit.
D. 
Sidewalk cafe furniture and fixtures shall not be secured to any public amenity unless authorized by the sidewalk cafe street use permit.
E. 
The permittee shall temporarily remove the sidewalk cafe and clear the public place as the Town Council deems necessary to temporarily accommodate access to abutting properties or utilities.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
F. 
The permittee is responsible for ensuring that the sidewalk cafe activity does not encroach into the roadway, abutting property, or cause pedestrians to divert from the pedestrian zone.
G. 
The permittee shall not operate the sidewalk cafe in a way that restricts or interferes with access to the abutting property; or creates a nuisance or hazard to public health, safety, or welfare; or increases traffic congestion or delay; or constitutes an obstruction for fire, police, or sanitation vehicles.
H. 
The permittee shall immediately remove the sidewalk cafe when ordered by the Town Council, the Chief of Police, the Fire Chief, or Building Inspector.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]