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Storefront use considered

A bylaw regarding storefront use on Martin Street in Penticton, generated much discussion at Monday's  council meeting.

Of primary concern to some council members was allowing for enclosed spaces on the street, which is included in the downtown revitalization.

"I would be very saddened if people were blocking off their space," said Councillor Judy Sentes.

While Councillor Helena Konanz said the idea of fabric walls does not appeal to her.

As a result of the discussion, the bylaw passed the first reading, but will go back to the Downtown Revitalization Committee to  clarify the enclosed space requirement.

The recently adopted downtown plan identified the need to revisit the use of public storefront uses in the downtown core, as more usuable space is created in front of businesses.

The city's existing traffic bylaw and sidewalk cafe policy currently limits storefront uses to cafes and limits the number of cafes per street.

During public consultation on the matter, a consistent theme was businesses should be able to use parking spaces and sidewalks in front of their businesses for a wider range of uses including bike parking and merchandise display.

In terms of financial implications, the city receives limited revenue from the business owners on Martin for the use of sidewalk space.

And with property owners contributing toward the revitalization, it is not recommended they pay for the use of the newly created space, where it is proposed as a temporary use.

A separate item was voted on at the meeting, reducing the speed limit in the 100 and 200 blocks of Martin from 50 kph to 30 kph.

The new speed limit will take effect when the project is completed at the end of May.

The intention is to slow down the traffic to increase the visibility of the businesses and new storefront uses, said Anthony Haddad, the city's director of development services.

The speed limit on Penticton's Main Street, between Eckhardt and Lakeshore, is already 30 kph, he added.

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