Washington Township Board of Trustees Announces Business Reopening Assistance
On June 3rd, 2020, the Washington Township Board of Trustees unanimously decided on a “Business Re-Opening” procedure designed to assist businesses in transitioning out of the Covid lockdown.
The measure would set up a “temporary use” procedure that would waive fees for temporary use permits for outdoor activities and allow businesses to temporarily bypass traditional procedures for obtaining permits for such activities.
The closure of Michigan restaurants and other retail outlets is being partially lifted by the Governor. However, there are still certain restrictions that will harm the profitability and even viability of some of those businesses. For instance, restaurants must limit their capacity to 50% of normal capacity. These businesses might be more viable if they are allowed to introduce temporary outdoor seating in their parking area or greenbelt to increase customers served. Traditionally, outdoor seating would involve formal site plan submittals, fees, and delays as the submittals would be approved by the Township Planning Commission that meets monthly. “In this rapidly changing environment, we cannot make businesses wait a month or more to receive approval. The normal process is intended for a permanent change in site plan. This temporary measure will allow us to be nimble and get businesses the relief they need expeditiously” Supervisor O’Leary explained.
The temporary approval will allow outdoor activities for up to 90 days. The Township Board will revisit the status of this temporary procedure again to determine if an extension is needed.
A business operator wishing to conduct outdoor activities (seating, product sales, etc.) will be required to contact Patrick Meagher, Economic Development Director for Washington Township, and fill out a brief form explaining their plan and intent. Appropriate Township personnel will meet on site with the operator to understand their intent and place conditions on the proposal to ensure that safety concerns are mitigated and the overall intent of Township ordinances are being honored. The review is intended to happen quickly, to ensure maximum positive impact for the operator. The operator will not be required to pay any fees for this review. However, the operator must continue to honor proper Liquor Control Commission, Health Department, and landlord procedures and requirements.
The permits will allow for the temporary outdoor activities for a period of 90 days from the date of the approval. It is hoped that the Governor’s restrictions will lessen in that time. If not, the Township Board will evaluate the need for additional measures.
Businesses wishing to take advantage of this policy should contact Patrick Meagher via phone 586-677-4235 or email Meagherp@washingtontwpmi.org.