FRAMINGHAM – Five members of the 11-member Framingham City Council have asked Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer to utilize the executive powers of her office to allow for outdoor seating, relaxed sign laws, and to waive permit fees for restaurants and small businesses as the state and the City of Framingham begin to re-open post the pandemic.
“As we approach the 11th week of the current state of emergency, the small business community of Framingham (and the countless Framingham residents they employ) continues to wait for your plans to help them recover from this crisis,” wrote the five City Councilors in a letter to the Framingham Mayor on May 21.
The Councilors asked the Mayor to “temporarily adjust the terms of Framingham Common Victualer and Pouring licenses to allow for outdoor seating and pouring in a safe, socially-distant manner.”
The Councilors who signed the letter include District 4 City Councilor Michael Cannon, at-large City Councilor Janet Leombruno, at-large City Councilor George P. King Jr., District 6 City Councilor Phil Ottiviani Jr., and District 8 City Councilor John Stefanini.
The Councilors also asked the mayor to “temporarily suspend enforcement of the Framingham Sign Bylaw for affected restaurants, as interim signage may be necessary during the recovery period.”
The five Councilors also asked the Mayor to “work swiftly with the Traffic Commission and Department of Public Works to adjust local parking regulations to assist restaurants and patrons.”
The Mayor was asked to “work to expedite municipal processes and
waive fees to our small business community,” by the Councilors.
“While these are temporary measures within your present authority as
Mayor, we underscore our desire to collaborate with you and the
business community to develop more long-term solutions to aid in
the future success of Framingham restaurants and our entire small
business community,” wrote the Councilors.
“Finally, as these suggestions are merely the initial foundation of
measures to be taken locally, we urge your administration to begin
active discussion with each Framingham restaurant to collaboratively develop further strategies to help these critical members of our local economy recover under the present difficult circumstances. On behalf of our local restaurant community, we thank you for your consideration of this request,” concluded the letter to the Mayor by the Councilors.
On Tuesday, the Mayor held a Zoom workshop on re-opening the City with the Chair of the Framingham License Commission Adam Barnosky and Framingham Health Director Sam Wong. Framingham Parks & Recreation Director James Synder was also on the video.
Mayor Spicer reviewed the opening protocols and mandatory standards announced by the Baker-Polito administration on Monday, but did not announce any specific decision on re-opening the City of Framingham.
Framingham resident and businessman Rick McKenna partnered with Downtown Framingham, Inc.’s Director Courtney Thraen and chef/hospitality personality Al McLean to launch the proactive program to
help local restaurants.
The Council membership includes La Cantina’s Lee Mencoboni, Jack Abby’s Sam Hendler, Exhibit A’s Kelsey Roth, and Ken’s Steak House’s Tim Hanna.
Framingham’s EDIC Chair Doug Lawrence, Framingham Business Association’s Dennis Cardiff, Framingham Licensing Board’s Tiel Wadland, SMOC Financial Services’ Deirdra MacLeod Richardson, and DFI’s Mike Gatlin head up the business/financial sector’s representation, as well as MetroWest Chamber of Commerce’s President & CEO Jim Giammarinaro. Members and Framingham City Councilors Phil Ottaviani, Mike Cannon, and Janet Leombruno will act as the liaison group between the Council and City government.