Evanston’s community development director said Wednesday afternoon that the city is likely to release guidelines Thursday for restaurant owners that want to use on-street parking spaces for outdoor dining.

Johanna Leonard said, at a Design and Project Review Committee meeting, that the goal of the rules would be to maintain safety while allowing restaurants to have more outdoor dining space during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the businesses would likely be required to obtain Jersey barriers to separate the curbside dining areas from traffic and would not be allowed to use tents to shield patrons from the sun because of the risk tents could pose in high winds if they weren’t properly secured.

Without the new rules in place, the committee postponed action this afternoon on a request from the owners of Bat 17 at 1709 Benson Ave. to create a sidewalk cafe that would extend into the diagonal parking area in front of the restaurant.

But DAPR did approve, with some conditions, requests for two sidewalk cafes that would not extend into the street, for Ovo Frito at 1936 Maple Ave. and for Kokomo at 1639 Orrington Ave.

The committee also approved building permit plans for a car wash at 2425 Oakton St., but denied the owner’s request for a sign variation to locate a 11-foot-6-inch tall monument sign five feet from the property line.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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