City of Powell River council will consider issuance of a temporary use permit for Costa del Sol restaurant on Marine Avenue to continue operating its outdoor patio adjacent to the restaurant facility.
At the October 19 committee of the whole meeting, councillors heard a presentation from senior planner Daniella Fergusson regarding continued use of the patio.
“The reason why a temporary use permit is required is that the [MX mixed use] zoning bylaw does not allow outdoor commercial use,” said Fergusson. “Outdoor commercial use needs to be accessory to a primary use and so we have a patio on a vacant parcel and the outdoor commercial use is not accessory in this case.
“What the temporary use permit would allow is the outdoor commercial use not having to be accessory to anything. The other reason why the temporary use permit is required is because of the size of the outdoor patio. If the applicant, in theory, owned both parcels, and amalgamated them so they were one large parcel, still, under the mixed use zone, there is a maximum size for an outdoor patio based on the size of the establishment. The patio can’t be larger than 25 per cent of the indoor space.”
Fergusson said the patio is not only on a vacant property but is also too large to be considered under the bylaw, so that’s why a temporary use permit is required.
She said the official community plan has policies that encourage redevelopment of mixed-use zones to the full capacity of the zone.
“In other words, we don’t want to see properties staying vacant,” said Fergusson. “From a planning perspective, an outdoor patio would be good temporary use while future development considerations might be sought by the property owner.”
Fergusson said if council considers the temporary use permit, there is a recommendation for council that the issuance of the permit be subject to construction and approval of permanent washroom facilities.
Councillor Cindy Elliott said she had eaten at this patio and asked if it had been authorized in some other way.
“I can see the patio is there and they are using it,” said Elliott. “Now, they are trying to get a permit to use it. Is it in noncompliance right now?”
Fergusson said in May 2020 the liquor and cannabis regulations branch authorized licence holders to temporarily expand service areas so physical distancing could happen with the onset of COVID-19. She said the branch did not increase occupancy for places that serve alcohol but temporary use of outdoor space was permissible to help get through COVID-19. The temporary expanded service areas did not require local government approvals or site inspections, according to Fergusson. However, the program will be expiring, and businesses can apply to make them permanent, but local government approval is required, she added.
The committee voted to send the matter to city council for consideration.