The Town of Sylvan Lake is looking at amending it Land Use Bylaw to allow businesses to add a patio to their business. Last summer Lakeshore Drive was closed to motor vehicles and businesses were allowed to expand their patios onto the sidewalks, the amended bylaw will not allow for patios to expand onto sidewalks or roadways, but Town staff are looking into further iniatives and ideas. (File Photo)

The Town of Sylvan Lake is looking at amending it Land Use Bylaw to allow businesses to add a patio to their business. Last summer Lakeshore Drive was closed to motor vehicles and businesses were allowed to expand their patios onto the sidewalks, the amended bylaw will not allow for patios to expand onto sidewalks or roadways, but Town staff are looking into further iniatives and ideas. (File Photo)

Sylvan Lake looking to expedite patio applications

The Town of Sylvan Lake is looking to amend its Land Use Bylaw in regards to commercial patios

The Town of Sylvan Lake is looking to support local businesses in the wake of recent health restrictions by amending the Land Use Bylaw, regarding outdoor patios.

On April 6 the Alberta Government announced the province would return to Step One of the reopening plan. This meant restaurants across the province had to close in-door dining options.

However, the province is allowing restaurants to have their patios remain open for customers.

“But the government cannot ignore the science. We cannot dismiss the medical advice and we cannot ignore the numbers,” Premier Jason Kenney said on April 6.

Following this announcement, many municipalities have begun to expedite applications for patios.

In Sylvan Lake, the Town is looking to amend its Land Use Bylaw to allow businesses to add patios to their operations in order to safely serve their customers outdoors.

“Staff and Council for the Town of Sylvan Lake have made a priority of helping businesses that are affected by the measures to limit covid-19. We are working as quickly as possible to amend the land use bylaw…” Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre said on Facebook.

Proposed changes for the Land Use Bylaw include: an expedited approval process for commercial patios; development permit fees for the purposes of building a patio, due to COVID-19 health measures, are being waived; and the Town’s portion of building permit fees (totalling $150 per application) for the purposes of building a patio, due to COVID-19 health measures, are being waived.

Last summer, the Town closed a section of Lakeshore Drive on the weekends to allow for more social distancing, and for restaurants on that stretch to expand their patios onto the sidewalk.

It is not known at this time if this practise will continue this year, though staff will be having discussion around this idea and further options moving forward.

The Town has stated the amending of the Land Use Bylaw will be for private property only, and “not for patios expanded into the public roadway.”

“Staff is working hard to ensure the survival and success of our local businesses during these challenging and trying economic times. The Town is working to identify solutions to support all business owners as they continue to provide necessary services to our residents and the entire community,” the Town said in a press release.

The Town says there are some “legislative details” that needs to be worked out and adhered to while they are working to identify solutions to support all business owners.

The Town has set a public hearing date of Wed., April 28 at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers for feedback on the bylaw.

Residents are encouraged to send their comments ahead of time, and to listen to the live-streamed meeting. Comments on the bylaw can be sent to Planning Manager Kim Devlin at kdevlin@sylvanlake.ca.

Feedback specifically in regards to outdoor patios can be made by contacting the Planning and Development team at 403-887-2141.

Those wishing to make comments the night of the meeting will have to attend in-person, as remote participation is not possible.