As we've all learned this March, some months are as likely to bring 60-degree days as they are to dump inches of snow.

So, one York City councilman is questioning the wisdom behind a city ordinance that allows downtown restaurants to offer sidewalk seating between April 15 and Oct. 15, but not the rest of the year.

It's a restriction that arrived on Michael Helfrich's radar during some warmer days earlier this month, when business owners asked why they couldn't move some chairs and tables to the sidewalk for customers.

"I didn't have an answer for them," the councilman said.

At a council committee meeting Wednesday, Helfrich asked how other council members felt about lifting the restriction.

At least one, Councilman Henry Nixon, said it sounds like a good idea. But, he said, the council should first understand why the calendar restrictions were written into the law in the first place.

Most likely, according to Public Works Director Jim Gross, the rationale was to keep sidewalks clear for snow removal during unreliable months of the year.

But, as resident Jeremy Holtzapple pointed out, it's already the responsibility of the property owner to clear his or her sidewalk of snow.

Helfrich's informal proposal also won the approval of Manuel Gomez, a Libertarian candidate for the council.

"Keep it simple, folks," Gomez said. "Give it a go. I think it would be a good thing."


Helfrich said he's not sure when he'll formally propose the change.

"I just wanted to put the feelers out there," he said.

-- Erin James may also be reached at ejame