City council has pumped the brakes on restaurant patio developments, citing parking limitations as reason for concern.
Council directed city staff to review the city’s outdoor patio policy during the July 10, 2018 council meeting, also resulting in an alteration to the in-place application process.
The direction came after mayor Mark McKee voiced concerns of the development of Revelstoke patios in regards to their effect on city parking.
“I think that we should be, as a community, starting to get concerned with patios and loss of parking,” said McKee. “I like the patios, but at a certain point it becomes too many of them.”
Director of development services Nigel Whitehead alerted council that the review will likely take place over the next year, with completion not occurring until next patio season.
Though McKee initially suggested that a moratorium be put on patio applications until a new policy can be put in place by council, concerns of the fairness of such an action were voiced.
Ultimately, council decided to continue accepting applications for patios, though all new applications will be deemed temporary until a new policy is approved by council.
Once a policy is decided on following the staff’s review, all temporary applicants will be reviewed and permanent status will be permitted if deemed acceptable.
Discussion of the review came after council approved a LCLB Liquor Primary Structural Change endorsement for the front patio development at Craft Bierhaus on Third Street East.
While the restaurant was approved under old policy and will therefore the patio will not be registered as temporary, any future applicants will.
The choice of temporary approvals came after councillor Trevor English voiced worries of the fairness of shutting down patio development all together.
“We’ve started down this path of approving patios for anybody that applies to them, so how do we start saying no to patios without rescinding everybody’s’ approval and starting a re-application process?” English asked during the council discussion.
Councillor Scott Duke also voiced some opposition to the motion, saying the development of patios in town should be looked at with a positive perspective.
“I think it’s a good problem to have. Five years ago we didn’t have a thing on this block — it was dead,” said Duke of the parking situation along Third Street East. “And nobody came to park here because there was no where to go. So I think we’re in a good spot.”
Duke and English, along with councillor Linda Nixon, voted against the motion to direct the review and switch to temporary patios.
However, support from councillors Aaron Orlando, Gary Sulz and Connie Brothers, along with mayor McKee, allowed the motion to pass.
Choice to immediately adopt the temporary policy was decided on to avoid a possible rush of applicants ahead of implementation.
According to Whitehead, the city has received approximately one patio application per year for the past several seasons.
Under the current fees and charges bylaw, patios in Revelstoke can operate from April 15 to October 15, with a fee of $500 to the business per parking spot.