Beaverton's new Open Air permit program goes into effect Thursday, Nov. 4, opening a legal avenue for business owners to expand seating into what are now public right-of-ways.
In June 2020, when businesses started to reopen again, the Open Air Beaverton Recovery Program suspended the enforcement of certain ordinances to allow businesses to temporarily expand their operations outdoors. After a year of success, city councilors decided to adopt a permanent program in October.
Eligible business owners can pay a $100 permit fee to build on-street structures and seating. The renewal fee will also be $100.
The fee, which is characterized by city staff as "nominal," will give the city a chance to develop the program and understand what the "true costs" are for business owners, Beaverton site development manager Jody Yates told councilors on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Business owners who currently have Open Air permits under the previous program have until Sept. 30, 2022, to go through the new permit process. Their current permits will expire at that time, nearly 11 months from now.
Getting the permit is just one hurdle that goes with expanding outdoor seating, however. The costs associated with putting up an outdoor seating area can range anywhere from $15,000 to $75,000, depending on the materials and size of the area, according to city staff reports.
Last month, the Beaverton City Council expressed support for a grant program to help businesses get funding for construction and materials for outdoor seating. The council will vote on funding the program on Tuesday, Nov. 9.
"At that point, we will be ready to announce a grant program that will be launched, most likely in January, to assist with the creation of outdoor structures in partnership with the new permanent Open Air Beaverton permit program," said Beaverton development project manager Megan Braunsten.
More information on the permit process and the grant program will be available at BeavertonOregon.gov/OpenAirBeaverton.
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