Chatham-Kent restaurants can continue to extend outdoor patio spaces after council voted to extend their temporary bylaw permitting the changes.
On Dec. 14, council voted to keep allowing temporary outdoor patios for restaurants and bars until January 2022.
The recommendations were approved through the consent agenda, therefore, there was no discussion on the subject.
In June, the Ontario government allowed eateries to extend their outdoor spaces in order to safely accommodate patrons and staff while preserving business. Chatham-Kent followed suit and approved its own report with local recommendations, which are set to expire in January.
“Over the past six months, administration worked with many local restaurant and bar owners to establish temporary outdoor patios on private property and on the municipal rights-of-way in order to maintain appropriate social distancing,” stated the report to council.
“It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue well in 2021; therefore, it is recommended that temporary outdoor patios be permitted throughout 2021 to provide flexibility for local restaurants and bars.”
The same process for establishing a patio on municipal property will be adopted again for the coming year. In 2020, administration worked with 12 business owners to establish temporary patios on the municipal rights-of-way.
In addition, council also approved a zoning bylaw amendment that allows for up to 15 per cent of a required or existing parking lot to be used to construct an outdoor patio.
“Some business owners have noted that they may like to invest in constructing a permanent patio in the future on their own property but they are constrained in doing so because of current regulations in the zoning bylaw,” states the report. “Specifically, in several cases, the only option to construct a permanent patio would be to use some existing parking spaces.”
The required number of accessible off-street parking spaces must still be provided.