During 2020, emergency temporary regulations were issued by the State and City allowing for outdoor and street seating under the Open Restaurants program. This allowed seating on public sidewalks and streets, including areas that had not been zoned for outdoor use. Now the City is in the process of a permanent successor to the Open Restaurants program which involves environmental review and hearings. However, in October, a group of 22 residents filed a lawsuit against the City. They claim that in issuing a negative environmental impact report the City “ignored profound environmental effects wrought by the temporary open restaurant program which effectively ceded substantial swaths of precious public space to the interests of a single industry and created profound externalities which adversely affected the quality of the daily lives of petitioners.” Specifically, the residents complained about noise, litter, vermin and congestion, claiming that the outdoor seating has grown out of control and is a public health hazard. The suit claims that the West Village, for example, has become “lawless and sometimes downright dangerous.” The lawsuit asks the court to annul and set aside the negative environmental impact declaration and require the City to conduct a full impact statement.