PERKASIE — With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, existing businesses in Perkasie will now be allowed to have outdoor dining and/or sales of merchandise through the end of the year. 

The approval by Perkasie Borough Council at its February 15 meeting extends a similar move in effect for part of 2020. 

"I think that's pretty much of a no-brainer at this point," council President Jim Ryder said.

Council member Chuck Brooks said he's totally in favor of the move, but asked whether it meant the businesses would also be allowed to build new structures for the outdoor sales.

"Regular building permits are still going to apply," said Borough Manager Andrea Coaxum.

"It's not meant for permanent structures at all," she said. "They still have to follow the zoning ordinance and still work with the borough on that."

Tents are allowed, but even putting up a new permanent fence would be questionable, she said.

"We will continue to do what we've been doing since March 16 of 2020, which is work with each of the business owners on their specific circumstances," Coaxum said.

"I think the best message is we will be flexible and we will be as helpful as we possibly can," Ryder said.

"We will support everything we can," he said.

The businesses have to meet provisions such as allowing enough room for pedestrians to walk past sidewalk dining areas or merchandise sales, Coaxum said. 

"And that's common sense," Ryder said, "and I think our business owners are common sense people and they operate their businesses that way, so I don't think that's gonna be an issue here."

In another matter at the meeting, council member Scott Bomboy said a response was received to the borough's proposal that the downtown area be designated a historic district.

"The state agrees that there should be a historic district in the middle of Perkasie. They don't agree with the borders we proposed," Bomboy said.

State officials will be coming to the town at some time and will tour it with local officials to decide on the borders for the historic district, he said. After that, the state will send an official letter of determination and the application process will begin, he said.

"They need to come out and look at the town to understand it, I think," Bomboy said.   

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