NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The obstacles keep coming for Crepe Choupette in New Haven.
“With the inflation, with all the other factors that make small business kind of struggling to come again and add an extra struggle or extra worry is not a welcome thing right now,” owner Adil Chokairy said.
He thought that his $7,000 outdoor dining structure was permanent. Now, with spring weeks away, the city has ordered him to take it down.
“If they want us to remove it then we will have to remove it, but it’s going to be very bitter,” Chokairy said. “Do you hear is a sort of disappointment in my… I feel it right now as I’m talking to you.”
Crepe Choupette, Koffee?, Atelier Florian and Zeneli Pizzeria E Cucina Napoletana were given warnings last week that their outdoor dining permit lasted from April to November. Failure to comply could land owners a $250 daily fine.
Mayor Justin Elicker said he didn’t know the notices were sent until Friday and said he supports restaurants — but there’s a problem.
“There are some challenges in the wintertime around snow clearance and so we’ve struggled to make sure we are facilitating businesses, and so we are having a meeting about it tomorrow about how we can balance clearing the streets from snow and facilitating restaurants having a lot more options for outdoor dining,” Elicker said.
Most of the outdoor terraces take up two to three parking spaces. Elicker said 40 businesses currently have a permit and notices were first given out in December.
Chokairy said eating outside has become increasingly popular, and wants to see the permit become permanent.
“Would you like to see people sitting having fun or big truck?” Chokairy said. “It beautifies the city, so I think it’s an awesome addition, and we want to keep it.”
Elicker said Wednesday’s internal meeting will decide whether the fines will start this weekend or be waived.
He also said having these spaces permanent is an option, but needs more conversation.