Kelly Toy of Port Townsend sips a beverage Tuesday afternoon at the Seal Dog Coffee-Uptown Pub streatery on Lawrence Street. The Port Townsend City Council is considering making the pandemic-spurred streatery program permanent. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Kelly Toy of Port Townsend sips a beverage Tuesday afternoon at the Seal Dog Coffee-Uptown Pub streatery on Lawrence Street. The Port Townsend City Council is considering making the pandemic-spurred streatery program permanent. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Townsend to consider permanent ‘streatery’ program

Code changes possible by May 2

PORT TOWNSEND — One of this city’s pandemic-era programs could become permanent starting this spring.

Port Townsend’s “streateries,” drinking-and-dining spaces set up on city right-of-way, first got City Council approval in mid-2020, and a handful of restaurants set them up downtown and Uptown. As the virus held on, the streatery program was renewed three times, with the latest extension set to end May 9 right after Mother’s Day.

During its in-person and online business meeting Monday night, the City Council devoted nearly an hour to the idea of making the on-the-asphalt cafes part of the streetscape and the municipal code.

“I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Europe,” said council member Libby Wennstrom, adding that, there, sidewalk cafes add to a lively feeling — even in colder places such as northern Germany.

“They manage,” she said.

Jeanette Testu, whose Seal Dog Coffee business shares a streatery with the Uptown Pub on Lawrence Street, wants to continue managing.

In a text message, she said she “absolutely loves” the alfresco space, and if the city makes streateries permanent, she may invest in a roof, benches and geraniums.

“That little streatery kept us in business during tough times,” she said.

If the city opts to charge businesses a fee for the outdoor seating, Testu said she’ll be happy to pay it.

A permanent streatery “would be especially helpful for our business because our square footage is so small,” she noted.

At the same time, streateries are taking about 10 parking spaces out of the downtown-Uptown equation. In a survey by the Port Townsend Main Street Program last year, business owners complained about that and about the way some of the streateries look.

Main Street and the city will conduct another survey via Facebook and their websites later this month. To receive the survey directly, people can sign up for Main Street’s e-newsletter via https://ptmainstreet.org by Sunday.

“Our existing streateries are tired. They’ve been beat up by the weather,” city Public Works Director Steve King told the council.

King then outlined the plan for surveying the community about permanent streateries, proposing city code changes and potentially approving those changes — all by May 2.

Restaurateur Kris Nelson, owner of Sirens Pub and the Whiskey Mill and former owner of Alchemy Bistro, set up three downtown streateries in 2020.

In her comments to the council, she spoke of how city streets should belong to pedestrians, bicyclists and people who want to dine outdoors — and not just to cars.

Nelson emphasized that, with permanent streateries, she’d be inclined to take hers to the next level, making them prettier and more wheelchair-friendly.

“I want to build something … that adds to our streets and makes them attractive, and not just keep putting rope on my tent,” she told the council.

Council member Owen Rowe, while admitting he was “intimidated” by the tight timeline for revising the municipal code, suggested an additional idea.

“I wonder if there’s a way to incorporate food trucks,” or a food-truck court in the streatery program, he said.

Near the end of the discussion, Wennstrom put in one more point.

“We still have a pandemic going on,” she said, “and there’s a lot of people who don’t feel comfortable eating indoors,” so keeping and even expanding streateries, she believes, would add “a real value to the community.”

________

Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or durbanidelapaz@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

Ridge ski season opens Saturday

Finally, enough snow falls for winter sports

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
Work progresses on the road deck of the main over-water spans at the site of a new U.S. Highway 101 bridge over the Elwha River southwest of Port Angeles on Thursday. The bridge will replace an older nearby span that was determined to have structurally-deficient pier footings. The $36 million project is expected to be completed in December.
Elwha River bridge construction

Work progresses on the road deck of the main over-water spans at… Continue reading

Clallam Community Service Awards nominations deadline April 1

Nominations for the 2024 Clallam County Community Service Awards… Continue reading

Road work to begin near Forks

Contractor crews will begin construction of a temporary bridge on… Continue reading

A gate and concrete barricades block the north end of Towne Road as it reaches the new Dungeness River levee on Tuesday northwest of Sequim. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Residents provide Towne Road feedback

More than 30 express opinions on project

Point Hudson Marina slated to be open today

Port of Port Townsend plans grand opening ceremony on April 24

Firefighters extinguished a fire in an RV near Olympic Medical Center on Wednesday in Port Angeles. No one was injured. (Port Angeles Fire Department)
No one injured in RV fire

No one was injured following an RV fire at… Continue reading

tsr
Mobile Healing Clinic to start in Clallam Bay on Monday

RV offers similar MAT services as Sequim facility

Finalists for the 2023 Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award include, front row, from left, Carol Labbe and Pauline Olsen. Not pictured is the award recipient, Renne Emiko Brock, who was unable to attend the chamber’s annual awards luncheon on Tuesday. Pictured with Labbe and Olsen are, back row, from left, chamber President Eran Kennedy, chamber Executive Director Beth Pratt and Lorie Fazio, Citizen of the Year committee chair. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Art advocate Brock named Sequim Citizen of Year

Labbe, Olsen finalists for town’s top civic award