$4,000 fee will go ahead for Edmonds’ streateries

EDMONDS, Wash. — A controversial $4,000 fee for so-called “streateries” in the city of Edmonds will go ahead after a chaotic emergency City Council meeting failed to quash the plan.

These outdoor eating areas have been an economic lifeline for some restaurants, but they have also taken up precious parking spaces here in downtown Edmonds.

Some retailers say these streateries are like the Grinch that stole Christmas.

“When you drive my store, you can’t see my storefront,” said Kate Guthrie, owner of Glazed and Amazed. “All you see are these three wooden structures.”

These wooden structures are outdoor eating spaces some restaurants were allowed to set up during the pandemic. Guthrie says they not only block her storefront, they take up precious parking.

“I’ve lost for my customers over 30 parking spots between the streateries and then we have no parking fifteen minute loading,” said Guthrie. ”So, that’s a lost parking spot also.”

When Edmonds City Councilmembers agreed to the streateries in June 2020, the plan was to allow them until the end of this year.

Local restaurants asked for a six-month extension. A compromise, charging the restaurants $4,000 for a four-month extension, and the money to create more free parking, led to Monday night’s contentious Edmonds City Council meeting.

But it ended for lack of a quorum.

So, the plan to close the streateries next April stays, to the dismay of restaurants like the Santa Fe Mexican Grill.

“Absolutely,” said Ricky Bobadilla, the restaurant’s general manager. “We need them. Our guests need them.”

Some Edmonds residents agree.

“I totally understand both sides,” said Kelsey Reyes, a 10-year Edmonds resident. “I would prefer them to stay.”

But it looks like the streateries won’t be staying.

The current City Council isn’t planning to meet again until Jan. 4. And that’s when a brand new council will be seated. So that $4,000? It will be due Jan. 1.