COVID 19 has had a significant impact on national, state and local economies with the closure of many businesses, in particular restaurants and limits on capacities for many others. In response to the pandemic, Staff developed a series of business assistance accommodations, as well as opportunities for increased outdoor dining for restaurants both Downtown and throughout the community.
On May 8, 2020, at a Committee of the Whole, the Village Board discussed a series of recommendations from Staff, including full street closure for the creation of Arlington Alfresco in Downtown Arlington Heights and authorized Staff to proceed with its implementation. The Village Board also authorized Staff to implement and waive certain code requirements to allow outdoor dining on private property where restaurants and businesses had the ability to implement outdoor dining within parking lots on private properties.
Arlington Alfresco has proven very successful during the summer in 2020 and 2021.
The following is a recap of all recommendations outlined throughout the attached report:
1. Start and Completion:
Authorize Staff to implement Arlington Alfresco in 2022 and future years beginning early to mid-May, weather permitting and conclude at the end of September, early October.
2. Funding Alfresco:
Authorize Staff to implement a Food & Beverage Tax and annual licensing fee to fund Arlington Alfresco for the Alfresco zone restaurants and non-Alfresco restaurants, which wish to use the curbside bump out spaces or other public property for outdoor seating. Implement an additional targeted Alfresco FBT of .75%, applicable to FBT businesses within the Alfresco zone, and an annual street use licensing fee of $1,000, for applicable non-Alfresco restaurants. These charges would be sufficient to cover the Village’s cost to produce Alfresco, potential private parking rent, and could help offset a portion of the Downtown Sounds of Summer events.
3. Live Music:
A. Allow outdoor live music within the Arlington Alfresco zone subject to the Village Manager’s approval and modifications. Staff will continue to monitor live music during Arlington Alfresco, and if problems persist, pursue option B, shall be required of restaurants. The Village Manager retains the authority granted by the Village Board to halt music in a venue if it is deemed too loud and if the operator is not in compliance with the sound directives.
B. Prepare an analysis and alternatives for a street performer or busking policy and guidelines, as permissible within the law, for Village Board consideration.
4. Parking and Traffic:
Authorize Staff to pursue the following actions:
A. Retain a traffic consultant to develop a detailed special events parking plan and purse its implementation.
B. Continue discussions with private property owners about parking sharing.
C. Continue to explore the long-term potential of an EV shuttle program and its costs and benefits.
5. Curb Side Bump Outs:
Curb side bump out dining shall be evaluated on a case by case basis based upon the above criteria. Due to the costs associated with purchasing so many new barriers, the Village would paint existing barriers and/or add new slip covers for any approved curb side bump outs, meeting the above criteria as determined by Staff, as well as payment of the annual $1,000 License fee.
6. Outdoor Dining on Private Property:
To reauthorize the administration to waive minimum parking requirements for outdoor dining on private property as well as waive other code requirements for the remainder of 2022 or until post COVID pandemic and to assist businesses outside of the Arlington Alfresco pedestrian area.
7. Special Events:
Authorize Staff to continue to work with the Special Events Commission, Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders on the development, costs, and operations of a two-day event commencing at the end of Arlington Alfresco.