Restaurants - Ordinance, Licenses & Fees

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ORDINANCE RE:  REGULATING THE LICENSING, OPERATION AND INSPECTION OF FOOD SERVICE OR RESTAURANT ESTABLISHMENTS, ITINERANT FOOD VENDORS AND FOOD CATERING SERVICES BE IT ORDAINED BY THE LEGAL VOTERS OF THE TOWN OF STONINGTON IN LAWFUL TOWN MEETING DULY ASSEMBLED,THAT, the following Food Service Ordinance be amended as follows:

Ordinance Regulating the Licensing, Operation and Inspection of Food Service or Restaurant Establishments ,Itinerant Food Vendors and Food Catering Services In the Town of Stonington

I.Short Title
This ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the "Town of Stonington Food Service Ordinance".  It replaces "An Ordinance Relative to Granting Victualing Licenses: adopted June 8, 1925.

II. Purpose
It is hereby declared that the purpose of this ordinance is to protect, preserve and improve the public health, safety and general welfare within the Town of Stonington, and to prevent the spread of disease therein.  It is hereby found that the operation of food service or restaurant establishments, of food vendors and of food catering services may adversely affect the public health, safety and general welfare.  It is therefore declared that in order to maintain adequate protection of the public health, safety and general welfare, licensing of food service or restaurant establishments, of itinerant food vendors and of food catering services is required.  This ordinance is enacted pursuant to C.G.S. 19a-207.

III.Certain Provisions of Public Health Code Adopted by Reference
The regulations adopted and promulgated by the Public Health Council of the State of Connecticut relative to the inspections of restaurants and food service establishments (Sanitation of Places Dispensing Foods and Beverages, Section 19-13-B42; Catering Food Service, Section 19-13-B49; Itinerant Food Vending, Section 19-13-B48; Sanitation of Food Stuffs, Section 19-13-B40) and Chapter 417, Connecticut General Statutes, Consumer Protection, Section 21a-62 (Analysis of Food) and the regulations adopted and promulgated by the Public Health Council of the State of Connecticut relative to the inspection of grocery stores, bakeries and meat, fish and vegetable markets, forming part of the Public Health Code of the State of Connecticut are hereby adopted and made part of this ordinance by reference.

IV. Definitions
For the purposes of interpretation and enforcement, and unless the context requires otherwise, words and terms used in this ordinance shall have the meaning ascribed to them as follows:

(a)     "Director of Health" shall mean the Director of Health of the Town of Stonington.  "Director of Health" shall include his or her designated agent;

(b)     "Food Service or Restaurant Establishment" means any premises or areas, in the Town of Stonington, where food and/or beverages are prepared and served to the public for consumption on, about or off such premises;

(c)     "Food Vendor" means any form of conveyance or vehicle serving food and/or beverages, from a temporary location;

(d)     "Food Catering Service" means any premises where food and/or beverages, intended for sale or distribution, are prepared in bulk or individual portions, at another location;

(e)     "Premises" shall mean a building, or any space within a building, or area adjacent to a building or portion of a building used as a food service or restaurant establishment or food catering service;

(f)     "Constructed" or "Construction" shall include the construction, expansion, remodeling or renovation of any premises in whole or in part for use as a food service or restaurant establishment or food catering service.

(g)1.   "Food Handler" means any employee of a food service establishment who comes in direct contact with food and/or prepared food or beverages in any form.
   2.  "Certified Food Handler" is an individual holding a food handlers certification.  The certification is obtained by attending a course of instruction and passing a written examination indicating knowledge of safe food handling techniques.

(h)1. All food service establishments will be classified based on risks associated with the types of foods, hazardous or non-potentially hazardous.  Methods and times of preparation holding and cooling and reheating foods.

 2.  Food service establishments will be divided into four (4) classes as follows:

Class I is a food service establishment with commercially prepackaged foods and/or hot or cold beverages only.  No preparation, cooking or hot holding of potentially hazardous foods is included except that commercially packaged precooked foods may be heated and served in the original package within four (4) hours.

Class II is a food service establishment using cold or ready-to-eat commercially processed food requiring no further heat treatment and/or hot or cold beverages.  No cooking, heating or hot holding of potentially hazardous foods is included, except that commercially packaged precooked foods may be heated and served in the original package within four (4) hours, and commercially precooked hot dogs, kielbasa and soup may be heated if transferred directly out of the original package and served within four (4) hours.
Class III is a food service establishment having on the premises exposed potentially hazardous foods that are prepared by hot processes and consumed by the public within four (4) hours of preparation.

Class IV is a food service establishment having on the premises exposed potentially hazardous foods that are prepared by hot processes and held for more than four (4) hours prior to consumption by the public.

(i)     "Qualified Food Operator Required"  Each person owning, operating or managing any food service establishment designated either as Class III or Class IV shall be a qualified food operator or shall employ on-site at least one (1) qualified food operator who is in a supervisory position at said establishment.  Each food service establishment shall be in compliance with this subdivision by August 1, 1997.  Satisfactory evidence of compliance with this subdivision shall be documentation that the qualified food operator has passed a test  administered by a testing organization approved by the department, or other documentation satisfactory to the department attesting to the individual's knowledge of safe food handling techniques as specified in subdivision (6) of this subsection.  Said documentation shall be maintained on file at the food service establishment and provided to the Local Director of Health, registered sanitarian, or authorized agent on request.  Exempt from the requirements of this subdivision are:  temporary food service establishmments and special events sponsored by non-profit civic organizations such as, but not limited to, school sporting events, little league food booths, church suppers and fairs.

V.  License Required
No person, firm or corporation shall operate or maintain a food service establishment within the Town of Stonington until licensed by the Director of Health.

VI.  Application for License
Except as otherwise noted in Section VIII:

(a) Application for license to maintain or operate a food service establishment shall be made to the Director of Health on forms provided by the Director.  The applicant will state his name, address, location and type of the proposed food establishment.
(b) Submission of plans.

1.  Application for license for new and/or renovated establishments will be accompanied by properly prepared plans and specifications for construction.  The plans and specifications shall indicate the proposed layout, showing square footage available, arrangement and construction materials of work areas, walls, ceilings and floors, and the type and model of fixed equipment and facilities.

2.  No food service establishment may discharge any water or waste containing fats, wax, grease, or oils, whether emulsified or not, in excess of 100 mg/1 or containing substances which may solidify or become viscous at temperatures between 32º and 150º F.

3.  Any new food service establishment having fryolators or which, in the opinion of the Director of Health or his designee, will produce fats, wax, grease, or oils in excess of 100 mg/1 shall be required to install an exterior grease trap according to a design approved by and sized by the Department of Health.  In no case shall an exterior grease trap be less than one thousand (1,000) gallons capacity.

4.  Any existing food service establishment found to be discharging fats, wax, grease or oils exceeding 100 mg/1 to the sewer or on-site wastewater disposal system, or causing a nuisance condition, shall be ordered by the Department of Health or the Water Pollution Control Authority to install an exterior grease trap according to a size and design approved by the Department of Health.

5.  A maintenance contract shall be signed with a grease removal contractor prior to obtaining a food service license.  Copies of all receipts for removal of materials from and/or cleaning of grease control facilities shall be kept on file for a period of a least two years and presented to the Director of Health or his/her designee upon request.

6.  All new exterior traps shall be provided with manhole covers to grade, shall be easily accessible, and shall be placarded with notification as to the danger of entering the chamber due to the presence of noxious gases.

7.  The Department of Health is hereby authorized to enforce this section and the regulations authorized thereunder and may close down any food service establishment per public health code regulations.  Costs may be imposed to reimburse the municipality for cleaning adversely affected sewer lines.  In addition, the Director of Health may initiate a civil court proceeding, for injunctive relief or otherwise, pursuant to the Connecticut General Statutes.

The Director of Health, or his/her authorized agent shall approve the plans and specifications, if they meet the requirements of this article and the Public Health Code of the State of Connecticut.  No food service establishments shall be constructed, remodeled, or altered except in accordance with plans and specifications approved by the Director of Health, or his/her authorized agent.

VII.    Issuance of License

(a) The Director of Health, or his/her agent, who shall be a certified food service officer, shall inspect the proposed food service establishment and if the establishment complies with the requirements of this article and the Public Health Code of the State of Connecticut, shall issue a license to the applicant upon payment of the annual fee.  Such license shall be framed and posted on the premises.  No license issued pursuant to this article shall be transferable, and such license will be surrendered to the health department upon closing of the establishment.
(b) All licenses shall expire twelve (12) months from the date of issuance or renewal.
Annual License Fee

(The following shall be the annual license fees:)

Class I 
0-25 Seats                                      $  25.00
26+ Seats                                           75.00
        with retail                                    75.00
        
Class II        
0-25 Seats                                      $ 25.00
26+ Seats                                          75.00
        with retail                                    75.00
Class III & IV
Seating Capacity 0-25                      $75.00
Seating Capacity 26-100                  150.00
Seating Capacity 101+                     250.00
Vendors
Residents                                         $100.00
Non-residents                                     250.00
Caterers                                          $ 100.00
Temporary License (not to exceed 14 days)    $50.00

Non-profit organizations
not more than two (2) events per year  No charge
Seasonal establishments (open part of the year)
Shall pay fifty (50) percent of the regular fee for its category but, shall be a minimum fee of $25.00
The annual license fee includes original inspection and State required inspections each year.  

IX. Suspension of Licenses
The Director of Health shall suspend any license to operate a food service establishment if the license holder does not comply with the requirements of this article or the Public Health Code of the State of Connecticut.  If the Director of Health finds unsanitary or other conditions in the operation of a food service establishment which, in his/her judgment, constitute an immediate and substantial hazard to public health, she/he shall immediately issue a written notice to the license holder or operator citing such conditions, specifying the corrective action to be taken and specifying the time period within which such action shall be taken, and, if deemed necessary, order immediate correction.  If correction is not made in the stated time, the license shall be suspended.

X. Revocation of Licenses
The Director of Health, may, after providing opportunity for an appeal, revoke a license for serious or repeated violations of any of the requirements of this article or the Public Health Code of the State of Connecticut, or for interference with the Director of Health, or her/his authorized agent, in the performance of their duties.  Prior to revocation, the Director of Health shall notify the license holder or person in charge, in writing, of the reasons for which the license is subject to revocation and that the license shall be revoked at the end of fourteen (14) days following service of such notice, unless an appeal is filed with the Director of Health by the license holder within forty-eight (48) hours.  If a request for appeal is filed, the Director of Health shall thereupon immediately examine the merits of such revocation and may vacate or affirm such revocation.

XI. Violations and Penalties
Any person, firm or corporation maintaining or operating a food service establishment within the boundary lines of the Town of Stonington without being licensed by the Director of Health of the Town of Stonington, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars ($100.00).

a.  Operating without a Valid License:  When a license has been suspended or revoked as provided herein, and the establishment has commenced or continued to operate without the required license, there shall be added to the prerequisite license fee and collected the following specified penalties:  Operating With a Suspended or Revoked License $100 per calendar day plus a $100 reinstatement fee.  The imposition or payment of this penalty shall not be deemed to excuse the operation of a food establishment without the required license or to prevent the imposition of any other penalty prescribed by the Connecticut General Statutes Section 21a-59 as amended.

b.  Operating without QFO:  The designation, engagement and presence of a Qualified Food Operator for each Class III and Class IV food establishment shall be a verification food inspection item.  A warning will be given if an approved QFO has not been designated and submitted to the Director of Health within 30 days after a QFO inspection deficiency.  Failure to designate a QFO approved by the Director Health within 60 days of the QFO deficiency shall result in a $50.00 fee in addition to suspension of the food establishment’s license.  An additional $50.00 shall be assessed for each further 30 day period.  Failure to pay said fine(s) within five (5) working days shall be cause for suspension of license to operate.  

c.  Failure to Comply:  The imposition and/or acceptance of the stipulated fine/penalty shall not limit the Town’s authority to require full compliance with referenced State Public Health Code and these Regulations.

XII. Fines and fees for Repeat Violations

a.  Any violation of the Public Health Code noted on an inspection must be corrected before the next regularly scheduled inspection. A warning will be given the second consecutive time a violation occurs.  A $50.00 fine for each violation item will be assessed the third consecutive time, and an additional $50.00 fine for each time thereafter, that each violation occurs.  The payment of assessed fines shall not be a substitute or alternative to correction of the cited violation.  Failure to pay said fine within five (5) working days shall be cause for suspension of license to operate.
b.  If a four point violation or inspection score lower than 80 is given, a required follow-up re-inspection with a $100.00 re-inspection fee shall be assessed in addition to any specified penalty fines.
c.  If it should come to the attention, or is evident to the Director of Health, or his/her designee, that there are unsafe food handling practices within a food service establishment, or if in his/her judgment such conditions may present a public health risk, it may be required by the Director, or his/her designee, that food handlers attend a safe food handlers course.

The amendments shall become effective fifteen days after publication in a newspaper having a general circulation within the Town.       

Adopted  February 23, 1999
Effective March 14, 1999
Replaces Victualing License Ordinance adopted June 8, 1925
Amended May 3, 1999  VII & VIII
Effective May 21, 1999
Amended November 14, 2001 VI, XI, XII
Effective December 4, 2001  
Corrected typographical errors in Section VI per Town Attorney Londregan 9/9/2003