A Vancouver restaurant that was denied a temporary patio permit under the city’s new COVID-19 pandemic exemptions says it’s been assured it will get the green light by “the end of the week.”
Como Taperia on Main Street went public with its permit refusal on Friday, saying it would have to shut down operations without it.
The city says the issue is that the restaurant wants to site the patio on private property, while the first approvals under the special program are only being granted on public property.
Restaurant co-owner Frankie Harrington says that wasn’t clear at all during the application process.
“We were told that we were allowed to apply and that we had positive feedback on our application process that we would certainly get one, from people that we knew, talking with the city,” he told Global News.
“During the application process, the (permit) template has an outline, which states in that template that we are clearly on public property — it gets very complicated.”
Harrington said he met with Coun. Michael Wiebe Sunday morning, and was assured the permit would come by week’s end.
“Right now we need action, and we need to open. Every day means time, we only have three months of summer,” said Harrington.
He said the restaurant had already spent $3,500 on patio furniture that would add the 16 seats he believes will allow the company to stay in the black.
Vancouver Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung said the city had always been clear that Phase 1 of the temporary permit rollout would be for patios on public property only.
She said such permits are easier because the city holds liability on public rights of way, and that there is no need to deal with a property owner.
But she sympathized with Harrington’s plight and said she wants to hold a special council meeting to fast-track bylaw changes that will allow expedited permits for patios on private property.
“I’ve connected with staff this weekend, and I’m really confident that they understand the urgency and they’re going to move as quickly as they can,” she said.
That said, Kirby-Yung was hesitant to promise Harrington his patio would be back in business by Friday.
“I’m hopeful — really soon,” she said.
“I wouldn’t say how many days, but I don’t think it’s going to be too long before we can sit and sip a nice glass of something Spanish at Como Taperia.”
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