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Resolution intended to give businesses flexibility

As some businesses begin to partially open back up in Apple Valley, the city has provided some flexibility to help them with their operations.

The City Council adopted a resolution May 14 to provide for “temporary outdoor customer service areas.” The resolution allows for any business in a commercial or industrial zone to set up drive-up or drive-thru areas, customer ordering waiting or pick up areas or customer seating or service areas on its property to facilitate safe commercial activity consistent with state and federal guidelines.

“This gives our businesses time to prepare. You can’t make these changes within a day. This gives them a heads up knowing that council is really concerned about their welfare of their business,” said Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland. “We want them to be able to survive through these very difficult times.”

Apple Valley City Administrator Tom Lawell said as businesses open there will be a need for some additional ways for customer service areas to be provided at commercial sites.

“This could be the customers and employees and between the customers and themselves, basically to allow for social distancing. Businesses will have more room to do their trade,” he said.

According to the resolution, businesses can create the temporary outdoor customer areas without a variance, but they have to obtain written permission from the property owner if the business doesn’t own the premises.

The temporary areas will not require city permits but businesses would have to have a traffic management plan and provide on-site traffic management. Waiting customers should not take up sidewalk space and parking spots for people with disabilities or create a nuisance for abutting properties.

The resolution allows for flexibility for additional on site directional signage. Temporary tables, tents and sun shelters can be used but structures requiring state building and fire codes have to submit plans and permit applications for quicker review by staff. Liquor business licensees must apply for and obtain a modification in their liquor license if liquor will be dispensed or consumed in the proposed temporary customer areas.

The Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce noted in a May 15 email newsletter to members that nothing can happen with on-premise restaurant service until the state opens up restaurants with an executive order.

“According to current state law, all food and beverages sold at a restaurant are for off-premise consumption only. On premise consumption rules are supposed to be posted publicly by the governor on May 20 for possible implementation on June 1. We are hopeful, but details on what they may look like are unknown at this time,” the chamber stated.

Lawell said the resolution will be in effect until repealed by the City Council or the council revokes the current peacetime emergency.

Patty Dexter can be reached at patty.dexter@apgecm.com.

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