EDMONDS, Wash. — The Edmonds City Council voted 4-3 Thursday night to force restaurants using makeshift outdoor dining areas, also called “streateries,” to pay $4,000 to extend their permits or remove the outdoor dining structures before Jan. 16, 2022.
The vote followed more than two hours of presenting, last-minute amendments and debate.
The final ordinance passed requires any “streateries” to pay $4,000 by Dec. 31 in order to extend their permit for the outdoor dining structures,
The $4,000, through an amendment passed and adopted during Thursday’s council meeting, will go toward renting parking spaces for the public.
The three “no” votes came from councilmembers Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, Laura Johnson and Susan Paine.
The three council members expressed concern that those businesses benefitting from the outdoor dining structures may not be able to afford the $4,000 payment.
"$4,000 – absolutely ridiculous to put on the businesses," said Fraley-Monillas. "That is two or three staff wages for a month."
Others who supported the ordinance, like Councilmember Diane Buckshnis, argued that the outdoor structures were hurting other small businesses in Edmonds by taking away vital parking space for consumers.
Whether businesses decide to extend their outdoor dining permits or not, the ordinance states the “streatery” program will end on April 30.
Previously, the “streatery” program for Edmonds was set to expire by the end of 2021. It was established in August of last year to help businesses affected by Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 mandates that restricted indoor dining.
Mayor Mike Nelson, who was disappointed at the result of the council vote Thursday, called the program a “resounding success” that helped the city and many of its businesses survive 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," he said in a statement provided to KING 5. "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."