By Dawn Krebs
FORT PIERCE -- Back in 2008, the Fort Pierce City Commission briefly discussed allowing dogs in designated outside dining areas within city limits.
Now, with more restaurants opening in the downtown area, the subject has come up once again, and after a thorough review by city staff the commission voted unanimously at the April 1 meeting to approve the new ordinance.
At the commission meeting, Peggy Arraiz, a code compliance manager, answered questions for the commission.
"There are businesses that have shown an interest in this, and it's a good ordinance to have," she said.
She first brought the subject before the commission in 2008.
There is currently a state statute that regulates dogs in outside dining areas. The commission was looking to create a local ordinance that mirrored the state regulations. However, discussion stopped when they discovered the state statute had a sunset date of June 2009.
Recently, the state renewed the statute, reopening the possibility for the city to adopt its own ordinance allowing for dog-friendly restaurants.
According to the local statute, the business would have to apply for a special permit that would show the specific outdoor area where the dogs would be allowed. In addition, the business would provide hand sanitizers on outside tables and follow strict regulations about the outside area.