Dillon Town Council approved an ordinance on first reading Tuesday night to allow establishments to conduct business outside, something not currently allowed by town code written five decades ago.
"This is more of a housekeeping issue," town manager Joe Wray said Tuesday night. "This would include the playground at the preschool, it would include serving food and drink (on decks) ... it would include pumping gas."
Technically, these are all currently prohibited activities, Wray said. The codes were formed in the 1960s, and Wray isn't sure why they were written that way.
"I can't explain that. As we have grown and developed ... these activities were allowed," he said.
"I don't want to say (business being conducted outside is) wrong, because what was implied or what was thought I cannot answer."
The changes approved on first reading Tuesday apply to the town's commercial and core zoning areas. Outside business is already allowed in mixed-use areas.
The matter only recently came to staff's attention by the case eight residents filed against Adriano's Deli and Bistro in Dillon during the summer, Wray confirmed. Plaintiffs pointed out that Dillon's town code does not allow for business conducted outside of an enclosed building in the core zoning area, where Adriano's is located.
In the suit, plaintiffs claim the live music on the restaurant's 130-foot deck has become "an extreme annoyance and nuisance to the plaintiffs who are neighboring residents."
The town needs to make sure there are allowances for business conducted outside a "wholly enclosed area," Wray told council Tuesday. "There are still codes and zoning that affect noise."
There will be a second reading and public hearing Oct. 16.