The Moose Pub’s back patio outdoor dining area. The Moose has applied to keep the area permanently. Contributed / Courtesy Bob Waitkevich

Falmouth’s emergency outdoor dining ordinance has been extended once again, allowing restaurants to continue outside service and giving them more time to apply for permanent outdoor setups.

The Town Council last week approved the extension, which had been set to expire Oct. 22, until Dec. 12.

JP’s Bistro and Rivalries have been approved for permanent outdoor dining and The Moose Pub has started the approval process and has received a conditional permit.

The Moose plans to keep up its outdoor dining up for as long as they can, owner Bob Waitkevich said.

“We don’t have any plans right now to put heating outside, but we do have plans in the future for a more permanent, year-round structure outside,” Waitkevich said. “We want to have (approval) so that we can start that process.”

Because The Moose is in a zoning district different than the other restaurants’, a two-step approval process is required.

Rivalries plans to continue outdoor until the snow falls.

Bueno Loco owner Gregin Doxsee said she plans to apply for permanent outdoor seating but has not done so yet. She said she plans to have her application submitted to the Planning Board before Nov. 23 so it can be placed on the Planning Board agenda for its Dec. 7 meeting.

“This is definitely a priority for us, but it’s definitely not a one-size fits all process,” Doxsee said. “I want to spend more time working with the town to understand the site-plan process. We hope to have our permanent approval for the spring.”

At last week’s  Town Council meeting, Chairperson Amy Kuhn said it is important for the town to enforce all ordinances “evenly and fairly across the board, without a lot of exceptions.”

“That being said, the council is very aware that these restaurants have struggled between COVID and the labor shortage. Our residents also love outdoor dining and want to see it continue. The council has been balancing these factors,” Kuhn said.

The ordinance extension, Kuhn said, will get restaurants “through the fall, then it will sunset, and then they have the whole winter to make it happen and be ready for spring dining.”

Kuhn said no restaurants that have applied for permanent outdoor have been denied.

Ricetta’s had expressed interest, but then decided to stop its outdoor service in October and to apply in the spring, according to Community Development Director Ethan Croce.

The extension granted last week was the second for the emergency ordinance. The council extended the original deadline in August, two weeks after it voted not to renew the provision that allowed restaurants to operate outside until Aug. 20.

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