In Rehoboth, no appetite for live music on patios

Topic discussed, quickly dismissed during commissioner workshop
October 14, 2022

Rehoboth Beach commissioners may have recently approved an expansion of outdoor dining space for restaurant patios on private property, but there is no appetite to allow that larger dining space to have amplified music, speakers or live entertainment.

Currently, city code does not allow those things on restaurant dining patios. However, the topic was discussed briefly during an Oct. 11 commissioner workshop and put on the agenda at the request of Commissioner Edward Chrzanowski, who said he likes being outdoors and he likes live entertainment. Specifics code changes weren’t addressed, but he said it’s done in other areas and is something that can be done in a responsible way. 

Chrzanowski was the only commissioner to voice support.

Mayor Stan Mills said he didn’t want downtown Rehoboth Beach to turn into New Orleans’ Bourbon Street or any of the other local towns that like music to the extreme. Nothing in the city’s comprehensive development plan calls for ramping up, he said.

Even if the city was to pass something like this, Mills said, restaurants would still have to submit an application to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner to modify a liquor permit.

Commissioner Toni Sharp said the city is already having trouble enforcing noise levels under the current conditions. There’s a certain level of noise the city has to live with, but there’s not a movement to increase it, she said.

Just having this item on the agenda resulted in constituents reaching out to complain, said Sharp.

Let’s enforce what the city has, said Commissioner Jay Lagree.

Following commissioner comments, Mills said there was no enthusiasm to change the code and there would be no further discussion on the topic.

Expanded outdoor dining coming to an end in Rehoboth

As of Tuesday, Nov. 1, all expanded outdoor dining spaces on public and private properties in Rehoboth Beach must be removed. Exceptions are dining spaces on private property allowed under a city-approved permit of compliance.

In an effort to support restaurateurs during the pandemic, the city loosened outdoor dining restrictions for restaurants, allowing them to utilize public outdoor spaces for dining. City commissioners are working on code changes to the city’s policy for outdoor dining on public spaces. Restaurants that would like to have outdoor dining on public space in the future will be required to apply for a supplemental permit of compliance once commissioners codify the new policy. The expectation is the code will be changed sometime this fall.

Commissioners are expected to begin looking at related revisions to the restaurant code at its meeting Friday, Oct. 21.


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