PORT TOWNSEND — Late fees and finance charges, as well as discretionary base rate adjustments and Consumer Price Index increases in leases, have been suspended across the board until July 1 at the Port of Port Townsend.
Port Executive Director Eron Berg said Tuesday he also intends to enter into deferred moorage payment agreements with commercial and live-aboard tenants that would allow for three months of moorage to be repaid over a 15-month period.
To participate, commercial and live-aboard tenants would need to submit in writing that they want to participate and how their finances have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Such impacts could include loss in business activity at a commercial moorage slip, liveaboard tenants who have been furloughed or lost their jobs or are unable to work due to contracting the virus, or being quarantined while awaiting test results.
Berg said he examined the Port of Bellingham’s program.
“What we’ve put in here is a more limited-scope program that would apply only to our commercial and live-aboard moorage tenants,” Berg said.
“We want to make this fairly simple for the people who need it. We’re trying to get people whose tools of their business have been impacted by the pandemic or their homes are potentially impacted.”
Commissioners on Tuesday also voted to allow Berg to terminate term lease agreements with tenants in favor of month-to-month storage agreements.
That would allow tenants whose business has effectively halted due to Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order — put in plaice to slow the spread of COVID-19 — to go to a measure that would allow tenants to remain on premises at a rent of 25 cents per foot, provided that space is used only for passive storage.
For example, that would allow a restaurant to keep all of its equipment and furniture in place in anticipation of re-opening when the stay-home order is lifted and it is safe for groups to gather again.
Under the storage agreement, the port would market the premises and seek an active tenant willing to let the premises at a market rate for commercial building space, giving the original tenant the option to lease or vacate the premises.
“What we’ve got is a situation where some of our restaurant tenants are not facing just a difficult time, but, in fact, they have a very, very uncertain future, and this resolution would allow us to negotiate short-term rental agreements with those tenants who are essentially ready to close at the point of where they’ve hired the moving trucks and they’re comparing the cost of a storage unit versus staying in the port,” Berg said.
So far only one unnamed tenant has agreed to participate in the opportunity.
Port management has taken additional steps at both its Boat Haven Yard and the Point Hudson RV Park and Marina.
No reservations or haul-out and yard tenant agreements can be done at the Boat Haven Yard for any recreational vessel owners including “do it yourselfers,” and previously scheduled haul-outs for those vessels have been canceled.
Haul-outs for government and commercial vessels will continue without restriction. Vessels that are being refitted by any of Boat Haven’s marine trade businesses are exempt as well.
No nightly guest campers are permitted at the Point Hudson RV Park until June 1, and no new monthly guest RV campers will be permitted between now and May 31.
Monthly guests who made reservations between May 1-31 can expect a full refund, and the same is true for nightly guests who booked between March 23 and May 31. Meanwhile, current monthly guests are allowed to extend their stays until May 31.
The port has extended the invitation to qualified first responders and health care workers to “self-quarantine” in their RVs at Point Hudson on a nightly or monthly basis, as applicable.
Bookings can be made through the Jefferson County Emergency Management Department or Emergency Operations Center (EOC) but not directly with first responders or health care workers.
All EOC bookings will be limited to those with fully self-contained RVs, ensuring their access to public facilities such as restrooms and laundry facilities is avoided.
No guest moorage at the Point Hudson Marina will be permitted until May 5. Those who made reservations between March 23 and May 4 will get refunds.
The beach trails at Point Hudson will remain open as long as visitors observe social distancing rules.
Ken Park can be reached at [email protected].