A Vancouver restaurant says it was denied a permit under the city’s new Temporary Expedited Patio Permit, and that it’s having trouble getting answers from the city as to why.
But the city says the company doesn’t qualify for the program as it is currently written.
The city unveiled the new permit process on June 1, with the aim of providing restaurants more outdoor seating over the summer to help reduce the risk of COVID-19.
Under the program, restaurants can apply for temporary seating expansions on to the sidewalk, street or parking spaces. The city said Thursday it had issued its first 14 permits under the program.
In an Instragram post, Como Taperia on Main Street said it was granted an expanded liquor licence and had heard from colleagues and “people close to city channels” the application would be easy and that their business had been used in a city discussion as an example.
“We proceeded to purchase patio furniture and notify 10 staff we were reopening and could hire them back,” said the company.
But the restaurant says it learned Friday that it didn’t qualify for the exemption.
“We were told that ‘it’s complicated,’ ‘we don’t have time to get into it,’ and we may get to your file in a few days, or weeks,'” wrote the company.
“We don’t have weeks to wait for the company in these times.”
In a statement, the City of Vancouver said that the first patio spaces it is approving under the program are those dealing with expansions onto city property, which it can process in two business days.
“The patio application Como Taperia submitted is on private property, which brings a different set of requirements,” said the city.
“City staff are working hard to expand the program to permit temporary patios on private property, and are working with businesses who submitted private property applications on interim options.”
The city says it is also working on proposed bylaw changes for council to review that could allow easier permitting of expanded patios on private property.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart also responded to the restaurant on social media saying he’d be working with council to approve those bylaw changes “ASAP.”
Como Taperia says in the meantime, it cannot afford to operate at 50 per cent capacity — as required by public health order — without a patio and will have to close again.View link »