Wellesley restaurants no longer need a special permit to offer outdoor dining on private property but must still submit an application to the Select Board outlining their plans.
Zoning bylaw changes for dining in business and commercial districts that were approved at the October 2021 Special Town Meeting were signed by the Attorney General's office in March 2022. Removing the special permit requirement helps streamline the application process for restaurants and allows for faster approvals.
As other Town regulations still apply, any restaurant that is considering adding outdoor dining should contact the Select Board Office for guidance by email or phone at 781-431-1019 ext. 2219. In general, outdoor dining in Wellesley resumes in April after Marathon Monday.
In the past six months, the Town has been proactive in developing initiatives aimed to bring new and varied businesses to our commercial areas. In addition to removing the Zoning special permit, restaurant regulations that have eased include:
- Reducing the seating capacity required to receive an alcohol license
- Modifying alcohol regulations to remove the 10% bar seating requirement and "intent to dine" provision
At the 2022 Annual Town Meeting beginning on March 28, Town Meeting Members will consider two more proposed changes: To allow alcohol on Town-owned land in specific commercial areas, and to allow nonprofit organizations to apply for one-day special licenses to serve alcohol.