Olympia regulates outdoor dining to regain the mobility and use of sidewalks

Olympia regulates outdoor dining to regain the mobility and use of sidewalks

By Lorilyn C. Lirio

After being lean throughout the pandemic 12 months, Olympia Engineering Program Specialist Andrew Curtis stated the metropolis is now regulating outdoor dining at downtown companies.

Curtis spoke at the Parking and Business Improvement Area (PBIA) assembly yesterday, November 2. He mentioned the metropolis’s coverage on non-public industrial use of public right-of-way (ROW), sidewalks and downtown dining alleys, and the state tax to gather beginning subsequent 12 months.

“During the pandemic, we did a quick turnaround to accommodate outdoor dining to keep businesses going. But now we have to go back and hopefully clarify the rules for businesses using the public right-of-way,” Curtis stated.

He stated that whereas the metropolis helps outdoor dining, they can not lose sight of the function or use of sidewalks, which is mobility. They should maintain it protected for pedestrians, preserve visitors lanes and preserve emergency exits.

“The right-of-way is a public resource that belongs to everyone, not just adjacent businesses,” Curtis defined.

“We also have to follow state laws … and collect the rental excise tax on behalf of the state, something the city has to do,” Curtis added.

According to Curtis, the lease excise is a state tax on the everlasting non-public occupation of what is taken into account public house. Outdoor dining utilizing the proper of method is topic to rental excise.

Permissions choices

Because the state requires tax assortment for any everlasting non-public occupation of public sidewalks, Curtis stated the metropolis developed two allowing trails.

He stated the state considers everlasting and topic to tax any crossing occupancy that lasts 30 days and anchored sidewalk railings, fences, fixtures and platforms that stay in place.

For everlasting gear, companies want:

  • A ROW lease settlement with the metropolis, normally a four-year time period
  • Building allow for brand new railings/gear
  • Certificate of Insurance
  • The price of the constructing allow is determined by the function
  • Fees embody ROW rental charge at $2.75 per sq. foot/12 months; The state lease excise tax is ready at 12.84% of the complete lease

The metropolis additionally provides a path or non permanent allow settlement.

Outdoor dining is taken into account non permanent so long as the tables and chairs are pulled out as soon as each 29 days. No rental excise tax is required.

For companies that select to use the crosswalk or sidewalk quickly, Curtis listed the following necessities:

  • Apply for a sidewalk cafe (pedestrian intervention allow) from the metropolis, which can want to be renewed yearly. The allow is roughly $200 per 12 months.
  • The enterprise will delineate the dining space with demarcation medallions or blue dots, permitting house for pedestrian entry to the sidewalk and following different security pointers. Medals are $10 every.
  • Business legal responsibility insurance coverage ought to cowl the metropolis’s right-of-way

Clean Alley Credit

Olympia is implementing a brand new program referred to as Clean Alley Credit. The metropolis needs companies to undertake and look after alleys that haven’t any use for metropolis providers, equivalent to rubbish assortment, and are usually not wanted for pedestrian visitors like sidewalks.

“The city would credit them the rent they would normally pay for using the public ROW,” Curtis knowledgeable PBIA board members. “The rationale behind this loan is that it costs the city too much money to clean up … and other city resources to maintain.”

However, the metropolis could have to gather the state rental excise tax for individuals who have a everlasting allow.

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