A Windsor restaurateur will be allowed to operate a wood-fired pizza oven on a sidewalk patio in front of his restaurant.

City council approved the request Monday night even though city administration opposed the idea. Staff said the idea presents risk and "an element of danger."

The oven is also contrary to the city policy governing outdoor sidewalk patios.

A report to council said approval "will detract from the appearance" of the sidewalk. The report also states it opens the door to other devices, such as barbecues and open pits, to be approved. The report cites the "nuisance" of smoke, grease, heat and odours.

Coun. Bill Marra says policies can be changed, though.

"These pizza ovens exist within enclosed buildings and they don't create any hazards. We've got an exciting opportunity hopefully to set a precedent and see something new happen with our restaurants and cafes," Marra said. "It's our responsibility to make sure there is sound public policy, policy that protects everyone.

"We need to embrace this as a new opportunity and not throw up every reason it can't work."

The wood-burning pizza oven at La Contessa would have to meet the requirements of the local health unit before it becomes operational.

The restaurant's owner, Renato Zavaglia, has bought insurance coverage totalling $5 million.