By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Outdoor dining season in the North End begins Sunday, and the City of Boston says 67 restaurants have applied to participate this year.

“These applications are in various stages of review and City staff are actively working to approve these applications in time for the program’s May 1 start date,” said a city spokesperson.

28 restaurants applied for hardship waivers to lower the $7,500 fee restaurants will have to pay. 23 of them were approved and five were denied.

Some restaurant owners in the North End argued against the city’s plan to charge them $7,500 for use of outdoor dining space. They threatened to sue the city if the policy wasn’t changed.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said the North End is unique because there are a large number of patios that take up parking spots. The mayor said she’s trying to balance dining with the quality of life for residents.

Last year, there were 77 outdoor dining patios in just 0.2 square miles of the North End, including 70 on public property. By comparison, there were 51 patios in Back Bay with 21 on-street locations. There were 14 in the Seaport, seven in Roxbury, six in Charlestown, and one patio in Chinatown. Staff