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Posted: April 26, 2016

City launching seasonal patio bylaw

Downtown Cranbrook may have a different look and feel by summertime.

City of Cranbrook council last night unanimously approved the first reading of Downtown Seasonal Patio Bylaw No. 3860.

If approved the bylaw would facilitate the establishment of seasonal patios on city-owned property, including sidewalks and/or on-street parking stalls.

The draft bylaw was developed in consideration of a few key objectives, including: limiting liability to the city; affordability; consistency; and options, an Engineering and Development Services/Corporate Services (EDSCS) bylaw report noted.

The bylaw will have to include a number of commonly used requirements that will help limit liability for the city including use of a License of Occupation agreement and requiring that all seasonal patio operators have liability insurance prior to the city issuing a permit. These requirements will help protect both the applicants and the city, the EDSCS report explained.

Affordability is required “in order to encourage compliance and uptake of the program the proposed fees have been kept to a minimum and are comparable to other municipalities in our region. In addition, for sidewalk seasonal patios where infrastructure is removed daily applicants will not be required to pay the damage deposit of a seasonal fee, EDSCS outlined.

Draft regulations will provide a consistent set of rules for all applicants to follow. Most of the requirements follow best practices from other municipalities who permit patios; however, they have been drafted to meet the needs and circumstances of the City of Cranbrook without being overly onerous for applicants to meet, EDSCS informed council.

The bylaw also provides for options to establish seasonal patios on city sidewalks and/or on-street parking spaces.

“It is noted that it may be difficult for the downtown sidewalks to accommodate a patio of any significant size while still maintaining the required 1.5 metre clear sidewalk for pedestrian movement. A provision has been included to allow smaller scale patios on the sidewalk without having to erect fences, guardrails or barriers if they can meet the criteria. This should allow the smaller food and beverage service establishments to legalize and continue use of their outdoor seating.

“The bylaw includes specific sections for definitions, application requirements, fees, security, insurance and indemnification, general requirements for patios and additional criteria for constructed on-street patios, the term and renewal, and offence and cancellation provisions,” the EDSCS report stated.

The bylaw outlines fees, security, insurance and indemnification: Application fees· $50 for new application; $25 for renewals; seasonal fees· $1 per m2 of seasonal patio space on a sidewalk where seasonal patio infrastructure is not removed at the end of each business day; and a seasonal fee of $300 per parking stall (or portion thereof) occupied by the placement of a constructed seasonal patio.

The city will seek a security deposit of $500 for any seasonal patio where patio infrastructure is not removed at the end of each business day.

Applicants will be required to have general liability Insurance in the amount of $5,000,000 indemnifying the City of Cranbrook against any and all damages, injuries or claims. And the permit holder will indemnify the city from any and all claims. The clause will also be included in the License of Occupation agreement, the bylaw report highlighted.

Key seasonal patio specifications include: On-street patio permits are valid May 1 to October 31; Seasonal patios are permitted on city land where they are accessory to eating and drinking establishments (only) in the downtown area shown on the map; building permits are required for all constructed patios with occupant loads being calculated at time of application for seasonal patios.

The bylaw suggests a minimum of 1.5 metre clear sidewalk area must be maintained at all times, and fences and barriers of 1.0 metre are required to be located around a patio; however, an exemption has been included where the patio meets the such criteria as patio tables and chairs being located on the sidewalk directly abutting the parent business premises or are located wholly within 1.0 metre of the property line of the parcel; or on a portion of sidewalk approved through this permit process where the furniture is deemed to not impact pedestrian or vehicular movement.

Please go HERE for the full bylaw.

Additionally, the bylaw suggests patios must not extend beyond the parent business premises unless the business has written support from the neighbouring business and design of patios should complement the parent business.

The bylaw also suggests only one patio per business, with no advertising paraphernalia permitted on patio infrastructure and cooking, barbecuing and food preparation are prohibited.

Patios must also comply with all other federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations.

Council members expressed enthusiasm for the prospect of patios springing up on downtown sidewalks and in parking spaces.

“”I’m excited about the seasonal patio,” said Coun. Tom Shypitka.

Coun. Isaac Hockley agreed. “I can’t wait for it to bring some culture downtown,” he said.

If adopted, implementation of the Bylaw may add additional workload to the Engineering and Development Services Department. However, it is expected that there may be modest uptake for seasonal patio permits, which should not negatively impact staff workloads. It is also noted that the application fees have been kept low in order to try and encourage applications.

Along with passing first reading of Bylaw No. 3860, council Monday night authorized city staff to arrange and host a public open house for the bylaw at the Manual Training School on Wednesday, May 11, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Before the city council meeting last night, the Downtown Business Association held a ‘Downtown After 5’ event at the East Kootenay Community Credit Union.

DBA president Joey Hoeschmann provided members with an update on the patio process and several members reiterated their support for the addition to the downtown.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

Lead image: DBA president Joey Hoeschmann, second from right, with some senior staff from East Kootenay Community Credit Union during last night’s Downtown After 5 meeting, hosted by the credit union. Photo by Carrie Schafer/e-KNOW

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