MOUNT DERSERT — Restaurant and store owners on Main Street in Northeast Harbor may now apply for a free permit to serve customers or display their wares on the sidewalk in front of their building.
The Board of Selectmen made that decision Monday. They had voted the previous week to allow The Colonel’s restaurant to have tables and chairs on the sidewalk, but there was no formal policy.
“The area of unobstructed sidewalk must be at least 36 inches in width…to allow for pedestrian traffic,” the new policy states.
“(Permit holders) shall be responsible for placing physical barriers around permitted areas as required by liquor license rules. For restaurants not serving alcohol, no barriers are required.”
The selectmen initially considered allowing only restaurants to use a portion of the sidewalk in front of their buildings. But they ultimately decided to extend that to retail establishments.
Micki Sumpter, director of the Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce, noted that at least a couple of stores have displayed merchandise on the sidewalks in the past.
After a lengthy board discussion about the sidewalk use policy, Selectman Martha Dudman said, “We’re in the season now; it’s almost July. Let’s just get this done. I don’t think we’re going to have any big objection to this. We’re doing this for Main Street, and I don’t see that anybody is going to be in a tizzy over it.”