EAST WENATCHEE — A new pilot program will allow restaurants along Valley Mall Parkway to extend seating out into the parking spaces.
The City Council on Tuesday approved allowing these “streateries” to operate until Nov. 13. Community Development Director Lori Barnett noted that the valley typically starts seeing snow in November.
Streateries will only be allowed on Valley Mall Parkway between 6th Street Northeast and 9th Street Northeast. Permits are required, but there is no additional fee.
A streatery must be operated by the adjacent restaurant, which can use up to three parallel or diagonal parking spaces. There must be a barrier between seating and traffic, and a curb stop between the seating area and adjacent parking.
“The issue that we have in most of East Wenatchee is that our sidewalks are just too narrow for sidewalk café use,” Barnett told the council. “You have to have ADA-compliance, which means you have to have four to five feet of separation and we just can’t meet that.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in public accommodations.
The new program follows a state order limiting indoor restaurant occupancy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses in the pilot program area don’t have off-street parking they could use for outdoor dining.
So far, Barnett said, Clearwater Saloon & Casino is the only business that has shown interest in participating. It can only use the outdoor space for dining, not gaming, she said.
Clearwater shareholder and general manager Michelle Peters said she expects to get the outdoor dining going in the next week and a half. The business has undergone layoffs amid the state restrictions, but she hopes at least half of her staff will be able to return.
Peters said she thinks streateries could be an asset to the downtown.
“It’ll be a nice change, and hopefully people are going to be excited for something a little new and different in East Wenatchee,” she said. “The city did so much to help us. We’re extremely appreciative. It’s going to allow our staff that needs income to come back to work a little sooner. Hopefully we can come back bigger and stronger and revitalize that area of town.”
Food trucks are not allowed under the current code or the pilot program.
Wenatchee established a similar pilot program for its downtown in 2016 and extended it several times. The City Council in June voted to extend it again through December or until the city adopts a new code, whichever comes first.
East Wenatchee’s program is effective immediately, but a public hearing will be held in September. Details on the ordinance are online at page 72 of the Aug. 18 City Council packet at wwrld.us/3hpi5nu.