BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) —Outdoor dining has been a hotly debated topic in the North End since it became a staple of pandemic dining, and a new plan from the city of Boston is adding more fuel to the fire.
The latest plan from the city requires restaurants in the North End to pay a $7,500 fee to set up outdoor dining, and the catch is, it only applies to the North End. Restaurants in any of Boston's other neighborhoods do not need to pay the fee for outdoor dining.
The city said the fee is necessary to help pay for transformational costs to help make outdoor dining possible in the North End. The funds from the fee will stay in the North End and be spent to help clean streets and sidewalks. The city also plans to turn a stretch of Hanover Street into a one-way street to allow for outdoor dining.
Restaurant owners and residents alike are sounding off against this new fee. Some restaurant owners are unhappy with the option and asked for the possibility of making a charitable donation instead. One former North End resident told WBZ's Jim MacKay he's not a fan of outdoor dining, but also doesn't support North End restaurants being hit with a fee.
"There are limited parking spaces here as it is, now that you put all these stands in front of these people, where do you stick your car?" he said. "But for the little hole in the wall, $7,500 is just not worth it."
Another resident said he thinks it is unfair the North End is being singled out with this fee.
"They should definitely have the fee be across the board," he said.
Outdoor dining is set to begin in the North End on May 1, a month later than the rest of the city.
WBZ's Jim MacKay (@JimMacKayOnAir) reports.