Boston Mayor Wu To Speak About North End Outdoor Dining Fee Debate

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is set to address a controversial new city policy on Tuesday — a new outdoor dining fee for North End restaurant owners.

The heart of this year's proposal is a $7500 fee for North End restaurants to use public city space for outdoor dining for the season. In a letter to North End restaurant owners on March 25, Wu said the neighborhood is "home to the densest concentration of restaurants anywhere in the state."

On WBZ's Nightside with Dan Rea, Wu said the fee will help cover costs that are unique to the North End because of the high number of restaurants there, and because residents have been complaining about the rodents, trash, noise, and the extra people on the narrow streets of the neighborhood.

Many North End restaurant owners were infuriated when the news of the fee became public, threatening to sue the city if the fees went forward. In a letter from the newly-formed North End Restaurant Community, the owners said the fees being imposed are discriminatory, as no other neighborhood will need to deal with them.

Restaurants in the North End have until April 10 to sign up for the program — and Wu said in her letter that if enough restaurant owners don't want to go ahead with the program, she could end outdoor dining in the neighborhood this season before it starts.

Wu is set to speak at 2:00 PM on Tuesday.

WBZ's Jim MacKay (@JimMacKayOnAir) has more:

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