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City grants one more year of outdoor seating in downtown blocks

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WENATCHEE — Downtown businesses will be allowed to offer outdoor seating for another year as the city works on new rules for it.

The city has been allowing businesses to use outdoor public space for private uses downtown for the past year. During that time, the city had hoped to develop design standards. But that hasn’t been done yet.

So the city will allow it for another year and ask the Wenatchee Downtown Association to suggest standards that could be adopted by the City Council.

Steve King, the city’s community and economic development director, said, “People have been pretty happy with it.”

But he said some people have expressed concerns about the lack of walking space around outdoor seating areas.

Probably the biggest issue is the combination of all the stuff on the sidewalk — garbage cans, benches, sandwich boards,” he said.

King said most cities that offer outdoor seating downtown have sidewalks that are a few feet wider than Wenatchee’s.

So it’s a little bit tight in places,” he added.

Mayor Frank Kuntz said, “It’s sure nice to see folks outside in the summer time.”

Councilman Bryan Campbell said he also likes the outdoor seating, but would like to see more standardization of rules.

I would caution those that have the right (to do it) to make sure they are maintaining a 5-foot width for people to pass,” he said.

Michelle McNiel: 664-7152.

Reach Michelle McNiel at 509-664-7152 or . Follow her on Twitter at @MichelMcNielWW.