Reconsideration of the ordinance governing the city’s streateries, the swearing in of newly elected councilmembers and a discussion on returning to hybrid virtual/in-person meetings are among the items on agenda during the Edmonds City Council’s first meeting of 2022 — at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4.
The council is also scheduled to elect a council president and president pro tem for 2022. Councilmember Susan Paine was president in 2021, with Laura Johnson serving as president pro tem.
The swearing in of the three new councilmembers is ceremonial. The city clerk administered the official oath of office Dec.. 27 to new (and former) Councilmember Neil Tibbott and returning Councilmembers Kristiana Johnson and Will Chen. Chen was also sworn in in November to finish the Position 2 term — ending Dec. 31 — that had been filled by appointed Councilmeber Luke Distelhorst.
As for the streateries, this will be the third time in less than three weeks that the council will consider the details of an ordinance governing the outdoor dining structures that have been occupying public parking spaces since 2020. They will do so Tuesday night with a new council makeup, as Tibbott replaces the councilmember he defeated in November — Adrienne Fraley-Monillas — on the virtual dais.
The ordinance proposed for council consideration Tuesday night includes an agenda narrative from development services staff stating that the $4,000 fee approved by the council in a Dec. 16 meeting is “disproportionate to other cities permit fees, averaging 30x than the average. Restaurants have vocalized their concerns about their inability to pay for the permit extension, which could lead to unintended consequences of losing these safe, outdoor eating options while the COVID19 public health crisis is still not behind us.”
The council met Monday, Dec. 20 in an attempt to revisit the fees, but with two councilmembers absent and two more choosing to leave after they raised concerns about the legality of the gathering, the meeting ended without action.
The proposed amended ordinance to be considered Tuesday would reduce the fee charged participating streateries from $4,000 to $2,000, and allow it to be paid in monthly installments of $500, rather than the now-required lump sum. The proposed ordinance also would extend streatery permits through May 31, 2022, a month later than the current extension of April 30.
The $2,000 fee would apply to streateries occupying two public parking spaces; a streatery occupying one space would pay $1,000, in monthly installments of $250.
The draft amended ordinance states that the first payment is due Jan. 15, although — under the council’s already approved ordinance — streatery operators were required to pay the $4,000 fee by Dec. 31. In an email to My Edmonds News Dec. 29, City of Edmonds Economic Development Director Susan McLaughlin said that the city “will gladly refund (to the streatery operators) any fees, if the terms change with a future council action.”
The streatery extension fee that is collected will be used to rent parking spaces that will be made available to the public, “after subtracting an appropriate amount to cover streatery-related administrative costs,” the draft ordinance states.
Also during the Jan. 4 business meeting, the council will hold an executive session to discuss real estate acquisition. And prior to the business meeting — at 6 p.m. — it will meet in a separate executive session to discuss pending or potential litigation.
The 7 p.m. meeting will be held virtually using the Zoom meeting platform. To join, comment, view or listen, paste the following into a web browser using a computer or smart phone: https://zoom.us/j/95798484261
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In addition to Zoom, regular council meetings beginning at 7 p.m. are streamed live on the council meeting webpage, Comcast channel 21, and Ziply channel 39.