Restaurants will need to apply for a $50 permit.
When it comes to dining with your pup, Port Orange residents and visitors may soon see a lot more 'pawsibilities.'
City Council approved an ordinance on first reading to allow dogs in outdoor restaurant seating areas with a 4-1 vote; Councilman Chase Tramont voted against. Restaurants wanting to participate in the dog friendly dining program will need to apply for a $50 permit. This ordinance doesn't affect service animals.
The ordinance is a result of new restaurants, such as Jimmy Hulas, asking city staff about dog dining regulations, said City Planning Manager Penny Cruz at the Nov. 19 council meeting. Staff has also observed existing restaurants already allowing dogs in outdoor seating areas, such as Panera Bread and Neighbors Ice Cream.
The city's ordinance is a mirror of the state statute that allows for dog friendly dining, Cruz explained, and staff contacted other local governments who have implemented it. None reported issues or complaints since adopting it, according to Cruz.
“This is pretty easy to me," Councilman Scott Stiltner said. "The restaurants have got to know their clientele, right? And so if this upsets people, they won’t go. If this is something they’re in favor of, they’re going to go.”
Some restaurants have already been allowing dogs in outdoor seating areas, he added. If the business has control of it, he doesn't see an issue.
Tramont wasn't on the same page. He said he thought this decision would have been easier for him, as he believes businesses should be making their own decisions, but this one was "trickier" for him.
“I’m not sure it’s a road I’m willing to go down, to be honest with you," he said. "I think there’s far too many unknown, for that matter known, health and safety concerns that I can see with this.”
To apply for the permit, restaurants will need to include a diagram of the designated dog friendly area, the hours of operations in which dogs will be allowed, as well as public signage notifying patrons that dogs are allowed, city documents detail. Dogs will also need to be kept on a leash, be wearing their current rabies tag, and will not be allowed on chairs, tables or other furnishings.
Restaurant employees will need to abide to specific sanitary regulations, including keeping a cleaning kit for dog waste accidents near the area. In case of such occurrence, dog waste must be cleaned immediately and the area has to be sanitized, city documents state.
Should the restaurant close or change ownership, the permit will expire. Permits will need to be renewed annually, and violations will be handled by code enforcement.
City Manager Jake Johansson said, to date, he hasn't received a complaint about dogs in restaurants. There's a lot of animal lovers who take good care of their pets, he said, adding that had new restaurants not inquired about regulations, city staff may not have been aware regulations needed to be put in place.