Letter to the editor: No reason to continue the streets of Edmonds

Mr. Editor:

There have been discussions on the streets of Edmonds ad nauseam. They started in early summer 2020 with the expected end date and their demolition in 70 days. A few companies determined that the return on investment (ROI) justified erecting the structures because they did not have an outdoor dining area. Their annual city permit fee of $ 100 entitled them to a structure that would remove on-street parking from their own customers, retail businesses, block street exposure to neighboring retailers, make driving more difficult. , especially at night with all the annoying lights, and potentially breaking ADA rules.

The first 70 days turned into 2020. For restaurants that determined insufficient return on investment for 70 days, the numbers started to look better and a few others erected their structures, taking up more parking space on the street. . That $ 100 a year has been extended until 2021, continuing to remove parking spaces from retail businesses, creating dangerous driving conditions and potential pedestrian accidents every minute of the dark hours of winter, and depriving restaurant customers and non-restaurant parking spaces across the street. companies they want to visit. The affected portions of Main and Dayton streets have turned into slums, a far cry from what one sees in Rio’s favelas or the streets of Tijuana, but this is only the beginning.

COVID-19 is with us and will continue to be endemic with variations throughout our lives. It’s the flu of our generation. Washington state has removed all indoor dining room spacing requirements except for proof of vaccination in King County. The reason for continuing to have streeaters is gone, gone, gone!

It is to my amazement that other companies that would benefit from additional land on the street have not applied for such a permit from the city. These are businesses such as florists, clothing stores, gift shops, hair and beauty salons, garden supply stores, etc. After all, if restaurants can take up street space to seat their customers, why wouldn’t a retail store have an interest in displaying their products? on a designated portion of the street during their opening hours, where a hair and beauty salon takes advantage of the outdoor, heated and well-lit space to cut clients’ hair or nail their nails without requiring them to babysit their mask? If the city can provide a dining room for a restaurant, it certainly shouldn’t discriminate and provide equal real estate to any other business that requires such convenience for its business affected by COVID.

The city also said there would only be 20 permits issued in total, of which around 17 have already been issued. This of course creates value out of thin air for an existing street owner. It’s like “key money” or a NY or SF cab “Medallion”, a sky-stinking crowd-like practice. If you want to license your street, you’ll need to buy an existing street and tear it down before you can build your own. The fact that the city will no longer issue permits after 20 years is pushing up the prices of “key money” on existing streets, and creating value out of thin air for existing owners.

Edmonds City Council will vote on whether or not to continue expanding streets until 2022 on Tuesday, December 7, only assuming it will help restaurants and customers. What about retailers? What about street parking? What about the residential streets that have become parking spaces for these restaurants? A restaurant owner operating three streets in Edmonds is reaping such a big benefit he opened two new restaurants in Seattle during the COVID era and a labor shortage when restaurants were supposed to hurt. The harm is there for many who play fairly and pay for their commercial real estate, but not when a street in Edmonds provides nearly free real estate for a dining room extension, lowering the costs of running the business. business and allowing huge profits to expand into other cities.

I must repeat. The reason for continuing to have Edmond streets is gone, gone, gone!

Please call or email your board member and ask them to vote NO on the extension beyond the end of 2021.

Let’s resume our streets and return to the quaint little Edmonds we all love.

Fred milani
Owner of the company Edmonds

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