Vernon city council considering patios in downtown parking spaces - InfoNews

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Vernon city council considering patios in downtown parking spaces

Could 30 Avenue soon be lined with patios?
May 22, 2020 - 11:54 AM

The City of Vernon is toying with the idea to open up sidewalks and on street parking spaces to allow downtown businesses to use the area for patios and commercial use.

Red tape would also be cut and businesses would not need a permit or have to pay a fee to set up outside.

The measures have been put forward to help businesses as they reopen and follow provincial COVID-19 guidelines. Vernon council is due to vote on the new proposals at its May 25 meeting.

In the report to council, staff recommend allowing businesses in downtown Vernon to utilize sidewalk space outside their business including one adjacent parking spot. Businesses would need to allow a two-metre aisle on the street for pedestrians. Businesses with a parking lot will be allowed to use 25 per cent of the lot for commercial activity.

The report recommends implementing the changes starting June 1 on a temporary basis until Sept. 30. Staff are recommending businesses enter into an agreement with the City but will be allowed to set up without a permit or any fees.

The speed limit in downtown Vernon on 30 Avenue and surrounding streets, would also be reduced to 30 km/h.

The idea of patios and street closures has been touted by cities across the Interior. The City of Kelowna is looking at closing Bernard Avenue to traffic, and the City of Penticton is looking to allow alcohol to be consumed in some public spaces.

While local governments appear to be embracing patios, several restauranteurs previously told iNFOnews.ca patio space wouldn't be enough to support restaurants faced with adhering to strict new COVID-19 rules.

The report does not address whether alcohol could be served on patios.

The report also suggests possible street closures on all or some of 30 Avenue, between 20 Street and 35 Street. City staff are looking to report back on the potential street closures sometime later in June.

If council vote to approve the patios and outdoor retail space the City would refund $3,500 already paid this year by the 10 to 15 businesses that already have sidewalk permits. The cost of the new 30 km/h signage is estimated at $25,000.

Councillors will vote on whether to approve the new measures at its May 25 meeting.


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