ST. PAUL - St. Paul businesses that have paid for a permit this patio season will be refunded the fees charged.
During the June 14 regular council meeting, a request from one local business requesting a refund for an outdoor patio permit was discussed. In early May, the manager of Smitty's Restaurant submitted a proposal to the town for a patio area, then the business faced further closures due to public health measures that came into place.
At that time, the Town refunded the permit fee as the permit was withdrawn.
The manage then re-applied for an outdoor patio permit on May 27, which was issued on June 1. A request for a refund on that permit has been requested due to the interruption of availability for the patio, and the economic burden on the business for the last year, due to a lack of sales.
It was also noted that the business did reach out to the Town for use of picnic tables, and the Town was able to help by supplying five picnic tables, temporarily.
During discussions, it was confirmed that there have been a few applications for outdoor patios this year, as restaurants manoeuvre the COVID-19 pandemic. Permits are $300 and are valid for the season.
Aline Brousseau, Director of Planning and Legislative Services, explained that a patio at a restaurant does require a permit every year.
Councillors agreed to not only refund the business in question but to refund the permit fees for all businesses that applied, while still keeping the patio permits as active permits.
Coun. Nathan Taylor said he would like to encourage businesses to still get a permit for outdoor patios, but said he had no problem with approving the refunding of fees, this season.
A motion to refund all applicants who submitted a request for an outdoor patio in 2021, was approved unanimously by council.