BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is expected to address the outdoor dining controversy in the North End on Tuesday, days after outraged restaurant owners announced they are preparing to sue rather than adhere to new requirements and a $7,500 fee that is being imposed only in their neighborhood.
Outdoor dining will return on April 1 but North End eateries must wait until May 1 before offering patio seating to customers, according to Wu. All restaurant owners have also been ordered to pay an additional $450 per month for each parking spot they use for outdoor seating.
According to Wu, North End many residents are adamantly opposed to outdoor dining. They have received more complaints from people who live in that area than any other neighborhood in the city, including issues with noise, cleanliness and rodents.
On Friday night, Wu sent the restaurant owners a letter threatening to cancel outdoor dining in the North End altogether, writing, “If a critical mass of restaurant owners also believe this program is unworkable as proposed, then I am prepared to rescind North End outdoor dining before the start of this season.”
Frank Mendoza, the co-owner of Monica’s Trattoria on Salem Street said he feels the fees are completely uncalled for — especially after the pandemic took a major bite out of their business for so many months.
“If I don’t have outdoor dining I can’t compete with South End, I can’t compete with South Boston, I can’t compete with the Seaport, Beacon Hill, even Charlestown,” he said. “I understand their concerns because not only do I own a restaurant, I’m also a resident. So, I have the same concerns they do.”
The city initially told owners that they have until April 10 to pay the fees, but Wu on Monday told WBUR-FM that restaurants could possibly pay in installments.
Wu will address the ongoing dispute during a 2 p.m. news conference.
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