North End Restaurant Owners Decry Boston's New Outdoor Dining Fee

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — North End restaurant owners are banding together to oppose a new fee from the city of Boston for outdoor dining that only targets restaurants in the neighborhood.

The newly-formed North End Restaurant Community is taking aim at a new $7,500 fee for outdoor dining from the city that only applies to the North End and calling for the practice to start and end when it does for the rest of the city. Outdoor dining is set to start later and end earlier in the North End only.

In a statement, the group said it was upset with what it called "harsh requirements, exorbitant fees, and obvious discrimination" from Mayor Michelle Wu and the city.

"The North End of Boston is one of the oldest, most historic, and most popular and loved areas in the entire city," the statement reads. "People come from across the country and the globe to visit and experience the rich culture and history of Boston's North End. Therefore, having outdoor dining adds to the cultural experience of the many tourists who will visit Boston during the spring, summer, and fall months of 2022."

The city said the fee is meant to pay for the transformational costs to make outdoor dining possible. The funds from the fee will stay in the North End and go towards initiatives like cleaning streets and sidewalks.

Mayor Wu has defended the city's decision to impose the fee and said on NightSide with Dan Rae Tuesday night she had heard many complaints from North End residents about rodents, noise, and an influx of people they said were brought on by outdoor dining.

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"A large number of residents have said they do not want outdoor dining in the North End," Mayor Wu said. "They don't want to see it go past this third pilot year and this is really a chance to see if it works in the neighborhood."

The North End Restaurant Community met Wednesday and called for the fees to be dropped and for outdoor dining to be extended until Sept. 30.

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