Clackamas County is waiving certain provisions of county code in order to allow local businesses to safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic and allow for physical distancing.
According to the county, this flexibility applies to both commercial and industrial businesses operating within Clackamas County.
"This flexibility could help a restaurant that wants to set up seating outside in the parking lot, a religious institution that would find it helpful to erect a large tent for people to gather safely outside, or a school that needs portable classrooms to expand space for students," said Jennifer Hughes, county planning director.
According to Hughes, this move by the county is aimed at streamlining the process that it would usually take for a business or school to apply for a permit to expand. For example, if a school wanted to build a protable unit on its property, it would first have to go through a complete land-use review. Under these modifications, the school wouldn't be bogged by as much red tape.
The same would go for a restaurant that wanted to expand seating out into a street where parking usually would be.
The temporary modifications only apply to land zoned for commercial, industrial or institutional uses. It does not apply to land zoned for residential use. All building codes and safety standards will still apply.
All requests will be reviewed by planning and public health, along with the county's development services staff, and will have to be approved by the board of commissioners.
"Anything we can do to help businesses survive, while keeping people safe — I'm all for," said Ken Humberston, county commissioner.
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