Hood River food and drink purveyors needing some temporary space to meet customer needs may be getting help soon.

City Council instructed staff last week to create a temporary use permit program for businesses to used on private property in the city as a way to provide room for takeout and to ensure adequate social distancing.

Hood River City Planning Director Dustin Nilsen said, “We need to make this count quickly, try to be as responsive as quick as we can to some pretty serious circumstances for folks.” 

He expects the temporary permits will stay within the city’s current six-month allowance under the building code, and will “sunset” no later than May.

"They (businesses) are looking to weather this storm, and we are hearing from some sources it’s pretty dire," Mayor Kate McBride said. "The next four months is key as far as staying alive."

“We are definitely looking at isolated parking lot uses, not affecting or opening the door to new businesses or transient businesses. We can make it explicit that it is for existing businesses,” Nilsen told council last week.

“This will be handed administratively by staff and on a case-by-case basis for temporary use requests,” City Manager Rachael Fuller said by email Friday. “No immediate date is set on the program roll-out, but we expect a short turn-around to respond to an immediate need.”

Council member Erick Haynie said he is open to the city “looking at public property options.

“I am warm to both private and public ways to allow our businesses to remain resilient in this difficult time,” Haynie said.

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