Council votes to extend streateries through April, but with $4K one-time fee

Edmonds City Councilmembers, Mayor Mike Nelson and staff listen Thursday night as City Attorney Jeff Taraday, bottom row – right, makes a point about the streateries ordinance.

Updated Friday with a statement from Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson.

After weeks of discussion about the future of outdoor dining structures known as streateries, the Edmonds City Council voted 5-2 Thursday night to extend permitting for them through April 30, 2022, with a $4,000 one-time fee charged to participating restaurants.

The city council in December 2020 passed an ordinance that allowed the temporary streateries in on-street parking spaces, with the goal of giving the public an outdoor dining option during COVID-19. That ordinance was scheduled to sunset Dec. 31, but city staff had proposed extending it for six months. A total of 17 downtown restaurants have taken advantage of the streateries option during the past year.

Stating the streateries should continue as part of the city’s effort to protect public and economic health, Councilmember Laura Johnson moved to approve the extension as proposed by staff through June 30, 2022. However, Councilmember Will Chen proposed an amendment with an earlier sunset date of April 30, along with the $4,000 lump-sum fee per streatery, due Dec. 31, 2021. The amendment also states that any streatery operator who does not want to pay the permit extension fee must remove their streatery by Jan. 15, 2022.

Under Chen’s amendment, the money generated from the fees will be used to secure additional parking spaces downtown for use by the public. Chen said he heard from businesses, pedestrians and senior citizens who have expressed the desire for more parking.

Chen’s amendment was approved by a 4-3 vote, and he was joined by Councilmembers Diane Buckshnis, Kristiana Johnson and Vivian Olson in voting yes. (Councilmember Kristiana Johnson had also proposed a substitute amendment that would have had the streateries sunset Dec. 31, but that died for a lack of a second.)

The $4,000 fee drew sharp criticism from the council minority of Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, Laura Johnson and Susan Paine, who called it “appalling,” “elitist” and “anti-business.”

“What you are doing theoretically, is standing opposed to other businesses,” Fraley-Monillas said.

“Any fee that we do should be justifiable,” Johnson said. “It shouldn’t be extravagant, punitive or pulled out of the air — it needs to be based on something.” She also noted that, according to data shared by staff, the fee is significantly more than what any other city is doing — with a $400 flat fee the highest of what other cities charge.

“What we are saying is we are not business-friendly,” Paine said. “What we’re saying is the exact opposite.”

Laura Johnson said she supports “a fee that can be justified, but I don’t know what that is.” A group of downtown retailers and streatery operators had issued a statement earlier this week proposing a fee of $500 to $750 a month, and Johnson reluctantly proposed amending Chen’s amendment to charge $500 monthly. She also proposed returning the sunset date to June 30.

Following up on the council’s conversation about how to determine an appropriate fee, Chen asked Development Services Director McLaughlin what city staff believes the fee should be. She replied that since city doesn’t have paid parking, it doesn’t have a methodology to assess what the value of a parking space is. Thus the fee that city charges per streatery currently is $110 to cover staff costs for permitting.

Laura Johnson’s amendment for the $500 fee failed on a 3-4 vote, with Buckshnis, Chen, Kristiana Johnson and Vivian Olson voting no.

Before Chen’s amendment was approved, there were questions regarding whether his intent was to have the fee be a one-time $4,000 fee or a $1,000 monthly fee for four months. Given the confusion, Chen then offered an amendment for a $2,000 one-time fee, but that died for lack of a second.

Chen also pushed back on criticism from the council minority, stating “I don’t appreciate the comment about we don’t care about the businesses. The business downtown is not just restaurant business. It’s our seniors, it’s our retailers, it’s our restaurants, it’s our movie theaters, it’s the whole community — it’s not just 17 restaurants.”

Once Chen’s original amendment with the $4,000 fee was approved, the council voted on the amended streateries ordinance and it passed by a 5-2 vote, with Councilmembers Chen, Fraley-Monillas, Kristiana Johnson, Laura Johnson and Susan Paine in favor.

In addressing support for the streateries, city staff cited a recent survey that was conducted using the Survey Monkey platform and drew responses from more than 4,100 people. The city noted that the majority of respondents would likely patronize downtown restaurants less if the streateries were removed. Staff have also pointed to sales tax data showing that the vast majority of downtown retail businesses have profited since the streateries were allowed.

During a recent public hearing, comments on the streateries extension reflected a range of opinions. Council President Susan Paine said Thursday night that through Tuesday, the council had received 140 emails on the topic, with the majority of them expressing support for continuing the streateries to allow them to dine comfortably outdoors. Paine and Councilmember Laura Johnson also noted the council has received photos of people enjoying the streateries, including families with young children.

Councilmember Vivian Olson said she was concerned about the streateries’ impact on those existing Edmonds restaurants that already offered outdoor dining, many of whom were paying for that privilege with higher rents. She then went on to list 28 restaurants in Edmonds that have outdoor, non-streatery dining already available.

“We are definitely offering more than enough outdoor dining options to meet the COVID safety and flu safety that our citizens are looking for,” Olson said.

Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas replied that most of the restaurants Olson mentioned did not have roofs, to which Olson responded “quite a few them also do have roofs.”

After the council vote Thursday night, restaurateur Shubert Ho offered his thanks to “the councilmembers who supported the idea of a final extension to the emergency ordinance. At the end of the day, it wasn’t the compromise that streatery participants and merchants agreed on, but something is better than nothing,” said Ho, who as co-owner of the Feedme Hospitality Group operates several Edmonds restaurants with streateries.

“The restaurant industry is not for the faint of heart, and if there’s any indication of how we have survived through this pandemic, today’s decision was just a minor setback,” Ho added. “I have all the faith in the world that our restaurants and merchants will continue to thrive together because of this extension, and that it will set the precedent for the future evolution of our town.”

In a statement issues Friday, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson blasted the council’s action, notiong that Edmonds’streateries program “has been a resounding success keeping our community safe and our local economy thriving during the pandemic.”

“Thanks to the actions of select councilmembers last night, our city now has the shameful distinction of charging restaurants the highest permit fee in the nation,” Nelson continued. “Our small businesses that were hurt the most will now need to pay the most. This action will have a crippling impact to our downtown.”

In other business, the council approved the city’s 2022 legislative agenda for the upcoming session of the Washington State Legislature.

During council comments, councilmembers and Mayor Mike Nelson thanked Fraley-Monillas for her years of service, as Thursday was her last council meeting. Fraley-Monillas expressed gratitude to her family for standing behind her while she was on the council, and also to the fellow councilmembers and residents who have shown support over the years. She said she planned to stay involved with the city, and added she may even write a blog that is a “behind-the-scenes” look at the city council.

The council and Mayor Nelson also offered their appreciation to long-time Economic Development and Community Services Director Patrick Doherty, who is retiring at the end of this month.

— By Teresa Wippel

 

63 Replies to “Council votes to extend streateries through April, but with $4K one-time fee”

  1. Thank you to Laura Johnson for advocating sound policy-making, based on justifiable facts and not pulling numbers “out of thin air.” Making decisions that are “based on something” seems like a non-partisan process everyone should be proud to rally around.

    Full disclosure- I didn’t watch the live stream, so I only have this article helping me understand the decision calculus behind this number that does not seem to reflect the will of the people surveyed, live commenters, nor the affected business-owners co-signed statement.

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  2. I really thought there would have been zero action on this, but really pleased with the Council. Every struggle Ho describes is two-fold on the local merchants. Ho didn’t mention the retail shops, or thank them for the parking. Some clients of mine from Arizona came to Edmonds for food last weekend and were shocked at the prices at Salt & Iron. Something tells me $4k will come quick. It might delay the opening of yet another restaurant a few months, but hopefully he’ll survive.

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  3. “….Merchants and retailers will thrive together because of this extension…” I was under the impression the other merchants had been hurt by streateries! What gives? Secondly, I’m concerned about the rest of this statement, “…it will set a precedent for the future evolution of this town.” You mean a precedent to keep these going? A precedent to make them permanent? Yikes! Hope not. I’m grateful that some council did extra research on the number of restaurants with already existing outdoor spaces and pointed out they are paying rent for that space. Additionally, handling the point of available places to go eat outdoors even without the streateries! Those facts matter. The fact that citizens have lost 34 parking spaces is a big deal! Pretty much guaranteed that streateries that serve alcohol are going to pay the fee. I hope the restaurants with limited hours will take theirs down to show good will and show the citizens here they were listening. We can patronize those businesses more for their efforts even if you “take out” which I have often done. The lack of charm of streateries is not an attraction of this city.. For the record, the new salish brewery was photographed with patrons huddled-up together so it proved the hype of being worried about covid was disingenuous. I don’t find this type of manipulative effort attractive in the least. I wish businesses who have streateries cared about the ambience of this city. Clearly they dont.

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  4. Well congrats. With this anti-business sentiment, essentially charging businesses an extra $1,000/month rent, paid upfront for four months, in the toughest season for staffing and customer traffic, Edmonds has taken a page out of Seattle’s book. It sounds like The Movement is now upon us.

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    1. Janice please take a minute if you can and provide data/facts supporting your comparison to Seattle. I’m curious as I am not aware of any similar scenarios in Seattle.

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  5. Wow! Shame on Edmonds city council and their totally inequitable, money grabbing decision in regard to the “Streateries..”

    At the toughest time of the year with food and alcohol prices rising way beyond the 7% and wages escalated in order to attract dwindling staffing pools, a $4000 upfront fee without any provision for the fact that some restaurants have twice the outdoor eating space because they have two parking spaces and others only one, based on frontage. How exactly is it fair to charge the same amount? That should be rectified or some restaurants are favored over others.

    No provision for the fact that many restaurants still have restricted hours because of ongoing staffing issues and challenges, making the monthly fee excessive for them.

    No consideration for the fact that we are entering a new era of the pandemic with the Omicron variant and any possibility of another lockdown.

    And what evidence is there that the city will/can secure additional parking and in what time frame? And how exactly does the city plan to spend this money. If all 17 restaurants participated, that would be a windfall of $68,000. There needs to be accountability and reporting by the city. Not vague statements.

    Could not be more disappointed in how the city council has dealt with this matter. It definitely feels punitive to me.

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    1. I agree with Susan.
      Those that have the cash will just pay the fee but the ones that are struggling have to pay an upfront fee they could be using to keep their business going.
      This seems like a lose lose resolution.

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    2. How is this an inequitable decision? The City has been offering this benefit just to restaurants downtown. I don’t believe setting up an outdoor space has been offered to the retailers downtown or restaurants outside of the downtown core. Offering the streeterie option to just the downtown restaurants is inequitable to me.

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  6. It appeared obvious for a few weeks now that Councilmember Chen would be the “decider” in this issue – would the streateries be extended or terminated at the end of this year. I watched the entire 143 minute discussion. The motion to extend them was amended by CM Chen and I believe it met with success because it was a reasonable solution.

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    1. Well, I did not see this coming. When I’m dead wrong about someone l don’t fool around. I still think Mr. Chen was wrong in his vote not to censure Ms. Paine but his stock just went up a bunch with me exponentially last night. There was no way to make everyone happy on the Streateries issue and Mr. Chen chose statesmanship over politics. Well done Mr chen.

      Several things became obvious to me last night. The Mayor and staff want to see the Streateries end up permanent in some form or other. Our legal advice is marginally competent at best. The people showed great wisdom in how they voted in the last election.

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  7. It sounds like they made a reasonable compromise to come up with a short-term extension for the street shacks with a 4K upfront fee and time for removal if restaurants didn’t want to participate. Yes, there are more than 17 businesses in downtown Edmonds. Hopefully the City of Edmonds will show some maturity and intelligence by being proactive instead of reactive with enforcement of safety and a ADA compliance. Further when recruiting a new Economic Development and Community Services Director the city should find someone who can figure out that there are more than five or six restaurants that have outdoor dining in Edmonds.

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  8. A point worth making; it will cost thousands of dollars to take a streatery down. A group of us citizens volunteer to show up with trucks and crew and disassemble your streatery at no cost or liability to you. We are ready to go. Email us at mdrich2012@gmail.com.

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    1. Please remember the option of “reuse/recycle” the structures. I’m not certain that idea has gain traction. It was a suggestion from the City of Edmonds, Chamber of Commerce, Greg Urban, greg@edmondswa.com; ‎
      Those structures have been an expense for each business and reuse is clearly an option!

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  9. I appreciate that Chen is listening to all voices, not just some. I didn’t expect much from this, I am pleasantly surprised to see a compromise. How novel.

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  10. Well I was disappointed that the Strategies were allowed to extend beyond Dec 31, 2021. However, given the close divide for keeping/extending and removal, I think the Council made a reasonable and acceptable compromise to meet the Edmond’s citizenry’s close split on what needed to be done. I think the arbitary $4,000 permit fee is reasonable, and sends the right signal to the restaurants with strategies that if they feel it’s worth it then there’s a price to pay for the use of public space. The Jan-April timeframe IMO is likely to be such that many of the strategies will be unused due to the winter weather and will expect some of the streateries to be removed to avoid the $4,000 permit fee. It will be of interest to know what the occupancy of the streateries are during Jan-Apr 2022. Restaurants can decide whether to keep them beyond Apr 2022 if their occupancy is low, making them unjustifiable.

    Thank you Council for struggling with this subject. You did well considering the close call from Edmond’s citizenry of this controversial subject.

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  11. I think this was a pretty effective compromise. I applaud CM Chen for a taking a creative approach that puts the decision in the hands of the business owner at this stage.
    I like the April deadline too. Gives business’ ample to prepare.
    This is a balanced approach!
    My kudos to CM Olsen, CM Johnson, and CM Buckshnis too.

    There are many businesses in Edmonds that have been impacted by Covid and up till now the restaurants are the ones who were subsidized through the use of outdoor public space use, while non-restaurant businesses paid a higher price by giving up vital parking spots.
    If a restaurant is still seeing a significant lift in sales based on having a streatery, then they can make the decision to keep it and pay the fee. On the other hand, if they are not seeing a lift in business by having it, they might decide to opt out.
    I also like that this might result in the removal of streateries from those restaurants that already have outdoor seating available, but have kept the streateries up because there was no incentive to remove them, even if they might have been empty most of the time.
    Restaurants (business’ in general) have also had access to and/or received Federal Assistance through PPP and SBA to weather the storm.

    Wasn’t it CM Johnson, Paine, Frailles-Monillas and Distelhorst that blocked the motions to allocate additional Federal/Care Act funds from being allocated to Edmonds Businesses and Job Training in favor of piling more $$ into their Green Initiatives just a few months ago? I find it laughable that 3 of these individuals are standing on a “pro-business soapbox” at this stage. So divisive and hypocritical, as usual.

    We have safety measures, 3 vaccines, at home tests, and effective therapeutics to utilize. We’re all learning how to move forward and put the pandemic behind us, perhaps this could be our first step toward getting back toward “normal.”

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  12. Thank you, Mr. Chen, for providing an equitable solution to the streatery issue. Edmonds is more than just restaurants and, if we want to be a thriving city, we need to pay attention to all place holders in the game.
    I have to admit that after watching the Edmonds city council meeting last night, I came away in utter amazement at how poorly the city council meetings are run.
    Does city council not have a secretary, who takes notes during the meeting? It was obvious during the last stage of voting on the streatery that a question arose about who had seconded Mr. Chen’s amendment. I watched the whole meeting and mentioned to my husband that no one had seconded the amendment and therefore the council should not even be discussing the amendment. The question was asked and seems no one had seconded it.
    Does the city council have a parliamentarian, who is well versed in Robert’s Rules of Order at each meeting? A participant at the meeting was asked twice about the correctness of a procedure. I am assuming he was the parliamentarian. His responses did not project certainty or total clarity.
    City council meetings are key to running our city. They should be organized, well run by the leader, and follow the existing rules of order. While all parties should be able to express their opinions and counter with “points of order”, time limits could be set to ensure council members stay on task and not repeat themselves ad nauseum.
    I belong to two organizations that utilize Roberts Rules of Order and have a secretary taking minutes at each board meeting. If we can do, surely the Edmonds city council can. Where is the leadership and, what, if anything, will be done to make city council meetings better run?

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    1. I motioned to second the amendment in question and saw another councilmember do so as well; that was why i asked who the record was relying on for the second – not because it hadnt been seconded,
      but because there was more than one potential second. When the main motion is changed by the originator, the seconder has to accept the change.

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  13. Friday, December 17 – I was just in DT Edmonds at 10 AM to buy a gift card and found that these shops that have been complaining about a lack of business due to parking issues don’t even open until 11 AM (and this is one week before Christmas). It’s hard to be sympathetic to these shop owners. I feel bad for the restaurants who need to pay basically $1,000 monthly to keep their Streateries open during what is the two slowest months of the year (Jan & Feb with the exception of Valentine’s Day). I love Edmonds, but it’s been so dysfunctional for a while now.

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    1. I agree with you. And the fee is based on parking spaces which is not equitable since some restaurants have two spaces and some only one. That, in my mind favors some restaurants over others. There are so many factors that have not been taken into consideration here.

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      1. “some restaurants have two spaces and some only one”

        Those are not the restaurant’s spots. None of them.

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  14. By my rough calculation this fee equates to about $15.50 per square foot rent per month for the use of two parking spaces for a streatery. That seems comperable to downtown Edmonds commercial ground leases. These businesses have had mostly free use of public property for almost a year so, now they have to comply with our state’s constitutional prohibition of gifts of public property except to the poor and infirm. This seems fair and a reasonable compromise for the short term moment. I applaud Councilmember Chen’s efforts. I hope the Council will really end these eyesores come end of April 2022 and that the businesses plan accordingly.

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  15. Okay do I hear any bids for $500, now $750, now $1000, I’ll raise you $1k, bid is now $2000, oh we have a bid for $4000 anybody else want to pick an arbitrary price/bid for these parking spaces? Okay $4000. it is, please head to the cashier to pay in full. All the money raise here tonight will benefit _________?

    What an interesting end to this debate. Good luck and increased profitability to everyone, and cheers to a thriving downtown core!

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    1. If you factor in just the use of the space for the last year and the 4 month extension the rental is only $ 250 a month pretty reasonable.

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  16. At first, $4000 for four months seems high. But then I remembered that the past 18 months were FREE. So, buy four, get 18 free? Not a bad deal at all and works out to less than $200/month for the duration of this wacky-tacky-streatery-policy. No other downtown merchants got this kind of sweet deal to boost their bottom lines. Play fair, Edmonds.

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  17. I would like to suggest to the Edmonds Council that for each Restaurant paying the $4,000 fee/permit that the Council authorize a permit certificate be attached in a conspicuous position on the streatery’s booth(s) structure so people can be assured the streatery has been legally authorized and a permit secured and paid for.

    Also, what means will be used to ensure for the businesses that do not elect to pay the $4,000 fee/permit that their streatery is removed in a timely manner?

    Thank you.

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  18. The devil is in the details. What kind of insurance is the city requiring to hold the city harmless from the liability of someone plowing thru one of these structures?

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  19. The council is unfairly getting blasted for this fee when the restaurants themselves were self-imposing 75% of the fee. In their letter, restaurants were already willing to go as high as $750/month to have a streatery (they stated a range between $500-$750). The council approved it at $1000/month. Note the council’s approved amount is slightly more than an $8/day increase over what the restaurants had offered. It’s an incredible amount of emotion directed at the council for $8/day.

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  20. One thing I do not see anywhere is just how the council is going to secure parking spaces with $4000 x however many restaurants pay this fee pulled from who knows where.

    How many spaces, where are they, who owns them…?

    Just another half baked idea.

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    1. Chris Fleck: For those streateries that are removed because the business is not prepared to pay the $4,000, then the streatery occupied parking space(s) will be return for public use. This will help a bit with your concern, and cost the City of Edmonds zero $s. For the Council to find alternative parking spots as you mention adjusting parking spot white lines may help in providing a few more parking spots, or negotiate with some of the banks to open up a few spots during off hours and weekends etc. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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  21. This is hilarious.. so you want to help the restaurant businesses…allow them to buy these and erect these shacks. They charge them 4K for parking…where are you getting parking? In a city with literally no parking, if you pay the CITY 4K , parking spaces will mysteriously appear?? Where?? Sounds like a money grab by the city to me.

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    1. Since this is public right of way, there is not an option for restaurants to buy these spots.

      DEMA has already identified up to 40 parking spaces that can be made available. The fee collected will go to pay for a commensurate number of parking spaces; and signage will be installed to direct shoppers to those parking locations.

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  22. Hats off to Councilmember Will Chen for making the motion, and for Councilmembers Vivian Olson, Diane Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson for supporting a well thought out compromise solution. At least, four of our city council members recognized the gift of public property legal argument, as expressed by the former managing partner of the law firm which represents the City’s insurance carrier WCIA to be a issue. Laura Johnson, Susan Paine and Adrienne Fraley-Monillas claiming the four councilmembers in favor of the compromise for being anti-business is most disingenuous and appalling the ignorant at most. Since time and memoriam of George & Ella Brackett, the citizens of and visitors to Edmonds have enjoyed the ability to park in downtown without any obstruction. To take that right and ability away from us is nothing more than to ignore current city and state law. Our City Attorney and 4 of the 7 Councilmembers realized the facts in this issue and acted appropriately on them.

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  23. I’m not sure when the streateries started, but I found the application form from the city for a permit dated December, 2020. I believe there were many of the structures up before then, but I’m going to use January 2021 as a start date. The fee for a permit is listed as $110. If a restaurant paid the fee for a permit, and then pays the fee of $4000 to cover through April 2022 that works out to $257 per month, which is much less than the $500 – 750 per month offered by the unknown group of business owners who wrote that particular letter to the editor. Seems like a heck of a deal: but maybe I’m oversimplifying.

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  24. From our Mayor:
    “Thanks to the actions of select councilmembers last night, our city now has the shameful distinction of charging restaurants the highest permit fee in the nation,” Nelson continued. “Our small businesses that were hurt the most will now need to pay the most. This action will have a crippling impact to our downtown.”

    Cryptic and ‘crippling’ cynicism from our Mayor. Sometimes it’s best not to say anything. Leaders need to control the fire, not jump into it. Edmonds, we can do better.

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  25. 1000.xx per month, 30 days is $33.33 per day, two burgers and a beer. Not going to break the bank.
    500.xx per month, 30 days is $16.66 per day
    250.xx per month, 30 days is $8.33 per day.

    Please put this in perspective! These restaurants are expanding into additional restaurants “Salish Brewery” they are not hurting for money. This is not about Covid, Salish patrons huddled very closely together in a photo. Streaterie restaurants not worried about Covid. Disingenuous.

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    1. Okay we have a policy now and love it or disagree with it as Cynthia’s math shows it amounts to $34. a day starting 1/1/22, not a bad deal for all the seats that buys, for all the safety it provides for those who want it and more taxes collected on increased capacity and sales, the taxes benefit us all. Seems like a win for everyone if put in perspective.

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  26. The shacks are ugly. But the uncertainty Covid continues to infect us with, makes planning how public accommodations should operate nigh impossible. I just wish every one would get vaccinated. The “fresh” Omicron strain looks to be a strenuous test of our collective sanity. The subject of the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence is truth. Why our legal profession has carved out so much real estate for business plans that center on disseminating lies as a driver of profit, belies their oaths. No business should be able to make money by lying. That is fraud. Common law upholds sanctions against business plans that include fraud. Internet Media companies, non-profit “think-tanks, renegade You-Tube channels, and one very old political party that monetize lying are all frauds in my mind and should not be allowed to continue. (I know I went broad with the topics, but our Republic is headed in the wrong direction).

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  27. Chen, K Johnson, Olson and Buckshnis embarrassed themselves and the city last night when they enacted the highest streeteries fee in the nation. These craven politicians pander to a group of insular NIMBYS who scoff at families, newcomers, young children, or anyone who doesn’t believe Edmonds should be transformed into a gated community.

    But these elected officials aren’t content to throw us all back inside to catch covid during a pandemic, they also want to kick local restaurants while they’re down, extorting them to the tune of $4000!

    But don’t worry, Mr. Chen says he “saved” the steeteries. He and the rest of the know-nothings must think we’re all pretty stupid.

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  28. It’s too bad that we have people that believe everything that Mayor Nelson says. You, and he, have no way of knowing if the Edmonds streatery fee is the highest in the nation.

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    1. Ron, I’ve been shown some screenshots from social media while the proposal was made. I think there’s a chance the mayor got the “highest rent in nation” talking point from kids on Twitter and Tiktok and he ran with it. As Cynthia and others have pointed out, per day the rent is cheap. The restaurants also paid zero rent for more than a year. Amortization.

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      1. Matt,

        I didn’t get to watch it, but I am pretty sure you’re right. Even “reduced” permit fees in major metro areas and the surrounding suburbs (from a quick Google search) seemed in line with or higher than the fees proposed.

        I particularly like the point made above that the businesses agreed (before walking into the meeting) to pay 75% of the fee. Of course 3 Councilpersons ignored this and started the cries of “shame” on the other four council members. Of course the Mayor did what he does, and make statements that were rhetorical, but not really factual. Sure, these fees are higher than some, but he also could have said the lowest in the nation. Hard to be wrong with rhetorical arguments. (Or right for that matter).

        Shame on the businesses for working with Council to compromise.

        At the end of the day, my guess is that the special meeting will result in some cattle trading, more hot air from my fave, a soliloquy rivaled only by British playwrights from another, and perhaps 10 or 15 points of order, followed by some sighs, a few jabs in the comment period, and voila… At the end, everyone will virtually hold hands, send kisses and love and cheer to one another virtually, and the outdoor use of public rights of way and property will continue for a 3k to 4k fee.

        It was good to see a compromise that gave both the businesses options, kept the Omicron threat in mind, and time boxed the period. Edmonds isn’t the first or last City to do this. Businesses were essentially given public property for $110, with limited code restrictions for many months. If there is financial worth to the heavily subsidized investment, they will pay the fee.

        The reality is, and the Mayor hasn’t disguised this, is that one goal is to change the dynamics of the downtown core into a hamlet like Cafe filled town with little vehicular traffic. We elected him, he gets to push his agenda. Council gets to legislate, they did their jobs.

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  29. Various text taken from CDC websites.
    Does going to bars and restaurants increase risk of catching COVID-19?
    Many new clusters of infection have been traced back to dining and drinking experiences. These activities are actually particularly risky because a mask can’t be worn while eating or drinking.

    Picking up food while wearing a mask or having it delivered to your door still remains a safest way to enjoy a meal that wasn’t cooked at home. The CDC describes drive-through, delivery, takeout, and curbside pick up options as the lowest risk way to dine out.

    Picking up food while wearing a mask or having it delivered to your door still remains a safest way to enjoy a meal that wasn’t cooked at home. The CDC describes drive-through, delivery, takeout, and curbside pick up options as the lowest risk way to dine out.

    When removing a mask to eat, those sitting outdoors are much safer

    Can restaurants require proof of vaccination?

    One way some restaurant owners have chosen to try to protect their customers and staff is by requiring customers to show proof of vaccination. Many of these restaurants have faced backlash, even drawing protesters picketing outside. However, legally, it is within a restaurant owner’s rights to ask about vaccination status. As private businesses, owners can legally refuse entry to unvaccinated people. However, vaccinated people can still spread the disease between one another and bring it home to others, so dining out, even with proof of vaccination, is not entirely free of risk.

    Yes, restaurants can require customers to wear masks. Similar to the legalities surrounding vaccination status, restaurants are private businesses and make the rules for those entering their space. (Remember “no shoes, no shirt, no service”?)
    ====================================================================

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  30. The City of Edmonds Comprehensive Plan outlines Urban Design Goals & Policies for Specific Areas. For the Downtown/Waterfront Activity Center, Goals and Policies exist for:

    -Vehicular Access and Parking
    -Pedestrian Access and Connections
    -Building Setbacks
    -Building/Site Identity
    -Window Variety and Articulation

    Our Comprehensive Plan states that, in the area immediately surrounding the fountain at 5th and Main and extending along Main Street and Fifth Avenue, uses are encouraged to be art galleries, restaurants, real estate sales offices and similar uses that provide storefront windows and items for sale to the public that can be viewed from the street.

    The street front façades of buildings must provide a high percentage of transparent window area and pedestrian weather protection along public sidewalks.

    Do Streateries impact vehicular access, parking and the ability for the public to view storefront windows from the street?

    Page 243 of the Comprehensive Plan displays a map of Downtown On-Street Parking.

    Our Downtown Business District Zoning regulations include ECDC 16.43.040 titled “Operating restrictions”. This Code section tells us that all uses within the Downtown Business District shall be carried on entirely within a completely enclosed building, except for 9 exceptions. One exception is for Outdoor Dining meeting the criteria of Chapter 17.75 ECDC. Another exception is for Bistro and Outdoor Dining meeting the criteria of ECDC 17.70.040.

    Our Zoning Regulations do not include an exception to the “entirely within” requirements for Streateries.

    Applications can be made to amend our Comprehensive Plan and/or to amend our Zoning Regulations. Both are Type V Legislative decisions. The related application fee is $7,000 for each type of amendment.

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  31. Thank you Ken Reidy for providing that information. Is the City of Edmonds Comprehensive Plan that includes the ECDC available for online access?

    Can you or someone else clarify whether ‘Streateries’ comply with the “entirely within” requirement? If they do not, then how on earth were they allowed in the first place? Were the Zoning Regulations examined or somehow ignored when Streateries were first allowed?

    Ignored

    1. Posting this reply on behalf of Ken Reidy, who is having technical issues:

      You are welcome, Barry.

      Yes, the current Comprehensive Plan is available on the City’s website. The best way to find it is to search the City’s website for “Comprehensive Plan”. The Comprehensive Plan was adopted November 17, 2020. It is 352 pages long. One can download the document and search for key words or terms. I searched for “street” and “parking” and found what I discussed earlier.

      Streateries do not comply with the “entirely within” requirement. When interpreting City Code, we are advised to look at the plain and simple meaning of the words. Words matter much and the words “entirely within the approved space(s)” are very clear.

      Another clear Code Violation is the fact there is no exception, not even an interim zoning code exception, for streateries to be carried on outside a completely enclosed building in the BD Zone. This “streatery” use outside a completely enclosed building has been occurring during all of 2021.

      The City sometimes ignores Code Violations and acts like the Mayor and his staff don’t have to enforce the Code unless a citizen files a formal Request for Code Enforcement.

      Our code, however, does not require citizens to file a formal Request for Code Enforcement. ECDC 20.110.040.A.1 states: Whenever the community services director or his/her designee becomes aware that a violation has occurred or is occurring, he/she may issue an order to correct violation to the property owner or to any person causing, allowing or participating in the violation.

      Regarding your final question, my opinion is the Zoning Regulations were not appreciated by City Council when Council was asked to adopt an Ordinance allowing streateries as an EMERGENCY on December 15, 2020. I think it was rushed into and mistakes were made. I’ve been trying most of the year to get City Council to appreciate the relationship to Zoning Regulations, but my efforts have been unsuccessful.

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  32. The Mayor’s statement is probably a pretty good indication of how well this new ordinance will be enforced and how honestly the parking money will get used. If Mr. Chen decides to get nosy about what the city is doing with the ordinance and how it’s being implemented, he will be told to mind his own business, he can only legislate; not administrate.

    I never cease to be amazed at the arrogance, entitlement, and subservience that is projected by our city administration in relation to whatever Mayor gets elected here. You may have noticed that whenever we change Mayors, there is an immediate turnover of city directors by firing or voting with their feet. Edmonds has a “shameful distinction” alright and it’s how we run our city in general. Egocentric over paid Mayors, combined with part-time (hobby) underpaid City Council persons and part time contracted marginally competent City Attorneys has Edmonds looking silly regionally, if not nationally. It’s time for systemic change here.

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  33. I’m not sure what all the fuss is still about. Finally, we had a Council meeting that had robust discussion and reached a compromise with not just a 4-3 vote along previously defined lines, but a 5-2 vote. Nobody got exactly what they wanted. The mayor and restaurants didn’t get the full extension they desired. Those who wanted the streateries gone by the end of the year didn’t get that either. The monetary amount seems within reason (one could quibble a little bit either way) as it will help incentivize sound business decisions. Overall, a healthy compromise.

    Rather than continuing this yes/no discussion, we should be applauding the civil process that led to this solution. This is what the legislative process should look like. And that is a win for us all and only bodes well going into 2022.

    Happy Holidays

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  34. Please post on this site the date, time and name from whom your received the City of Edmonds official public notice for the special meeting reportedly to be held Monday December 20, 2021, and a copy of the official public meeting notice. Thank you.

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    1. Received at 7:14 p.m. Dec. 18 by City Clerk Scott Passey. Here’s the verbiage:

      SPECIAL MEETING, MONDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2021 5:00 PM

      Please see the attached Agenda Packet document for the following meeting:

      City Council
      Special Meeting – Virtual/Online
      Monday, December 20, 2021 5:00 PM
      Edmonds City Council Meetings Web Page – http://edmondswa.iqm2.com/Citizens/default.aspx, Edmonds, WA 98020

      Download PDF Agenda Packet | View Web Agenda Packet

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  35. On Monday: (there will be a public comment section)

    City Council Agenda Item
    Meeting Date: 12/20/2021
    Proposed amendment of Ordinance 4243 – Extending Streateries
    Staff Lead:
    Department: Preparer:
    Background/History
    Susan Paine
    City Council Scott Passey
    5.1
    On December 16, 2021, Edmonds Council passed Ordinance 4243 – Extending Streateries.
    Staff Recommendation
    N/A
    Narrative
    There are three Councilmembers who would like to amend the recently adopted ordinance extending Streateries. The proposed changes include:
    • Changing the Streatery fee from $4000 to $2000,
    • Allowing the fee to be paid in monthly installments, and
    • Extending the Streatery permit to expire on May 31, 2022.
    Attachments:
    2021-12-18 proposed Ordinance amending Ord 42XX

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