What’s better than listening to some live entertainment on an outdoor patio, especially in the summer? If you’re someone who enjoys live patio entertainment, particularly in Burlington, you may be happy to hear that some exciting changes could be coming to the city.
Back in August of 2016, according to a recent council report, Burlington city council adopted a by-law regarding outdoor entertainment in the downtown area.
The by-law (By-Law 2020) was amended in order to permit entertainment and recreational uses on outdoor patios. The by-law was amended after staff became aware that the already established practice of live entertainers on patios was not allowed through the zoning by-law’s definition of ‘Patio: Outdoor’ as outlined below.
“An outdoor area associated with a permitted restaurant use, located on the same lot as the restaurant, is used on a seasonal basis only and which shall provide tables and seating for patrons to be served meals and/or refreshments for consumption on the premises,” reads the report. “Patio seating shall not exceed 50 [per cent] of the capacity of the restaurant. An outdoor patio shall be used exclusively for dining and shall not include any recreational or entertainment use or activity.”
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Before this by-law was enforced in 2016, restaurants, as noted, were not allowed to have live entertainers on outdoor patios. Entertainers were, however, allowed to perform inside of establishments.
Although, one of Burlington’s goals is to have a lively and vibrant downtown area.
And as a result, the downtown area was chosen for a pilot area to test permitting live music on patios. The downtown area, according to the report, was defined by the downtown mixed-use centre, and consisted of the commercial, and mixed-use zones (not residential areas).
The pilot program was known as the ‘Temporary Use By-Law’ and was said to be in place for three years. During this time outdoor entertainment was said to be permitted between the hours of 12 p.m. until 10 p.m.
The report notes that 30 restaurants in the downtown area were consulted regarding their thoughts and experiences with the by-law. The city received 10 responses, all of which were positive.
“The responses received were positive and all respondents indicated that they felt entertainment and recreational uses should be permitted on downtown patios, even if they themselves had not taken advantage of the permissions,” reads the report.
As a result of these responses, according to the report, city staff believes that the program was successfully employed downtown and that similar permissions should be explored throughout the rest of Burlington.
“Staff has considered the option of permitting entertainment/recreational uses on patios city-wide as a pilot project to allow the use to be tested without making permanent changes,” reads the report.
In addition, staff has also considered making permanent changes to the Zoning By-Law 2020 to permit entertainment/recreational uses through the city.
But on the other hand, another option outlined in the report would be for the city to go back to not permitting live entertainment on outdoor patios once the Temporary Use By-Law lapses. However, as noted in the report, staff believes that this option would go against Burlington’s vision and plans for the downtown area.
In conclusion, staff is recommending that the pilot program be extended in the downtown area for another three years, and for it to be reviewed for city-wide expansion.
The report, which can be viewed here, will go to council on July 15, 2019.
What do you think of live outdoor patio entertainment in Burlington?
Photo is courtesy of the city of Burlington’s Facebook page.