BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
Soon, man’s best friend may also have a seat at the foot of the table, at least at certain restaurants in Ormond Beach.
The Ormond Beach City Commission unanimously approved a doggie dining ordinance Jan 8, on its first reading, leaving just one more vote before dogs can be allowed in restaurants that meet a specific criteria and have been awarded a permit.
The ordinance would only allow dogs to be in a restaurant’s outdoor seating area, which, according to the city, “cannot require entrance into or passage through any indoor area of the establishment.”
The ordinance wouldn’t permit dogs at any restaurant in the city, only those that opt in and apply for a permit, which will cost $100 plus inspection costs.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m in favor of this,” said City Commissioner Rick Boehm. “I would note to those who might be objecting, that it is a voluntary act on part of the restaurant.
“No restaurant has to do this. If it was mandatory, I would be utterly opposed. A restaurant will only adopt this if they think it will help their business.”
The ordinance received support from the business community and dog-lovers at the commission meeting.
“When (tourists) come down, they bring their children and they bring their pets,” said Nancy Neeb, of LuLu’s Oceanside Grill, 30 S. Atlantic Ave. “And being from other places in the country that are pet friendly, they’re very used to being able to bring their pets with them when they go out to parks (and) when they go out walking on the streets.”
Neeb said approving the doggie dining ordinance would help keep tourists, and residents, from going to Daytona Beach or Flagler Beach to bring their dogs dining with them.
The ordinance would also fit in with shop-local initiatives and advertising, Neeb said, while helping to build the city’s downtown and other areas.
“I’m obviously biased in favor of this,” said Patrick Daugherty, who brought the idea to the City Commission’s attention Sept. 18 and later circulated a petition in support. “But I don’t see this as a problem for the city. The first person that’s going to be involved in compliance, with these very simple, commonsense rules the state has set forth, is the dog owner.”
Daugherty said he didn’t think any dog owners would bring “ill-behaved” dogs into restaurants. He also said he thought the restaurants that applied for the permits would be early adapters to the rules because they paid a fee and want to be involved.
In addition to dogs only being allowed in outdoor seating areas, the ordinance also deems that dogs must be kept on a leash and kept off chairs, tables or other furniture.
The Dixie Cup Clary Local Control Act, enacted in 2006, allows for local governments to establish ordinances as exemptions to certain items in the Food And Drug Administration Food Code.