The City of Bend is increasing fees for parklets — the outdoor spaces that some downtown restaurants use to expand seating and space.
Business owners can expect their renewal to increase by either $145 or $595, depending on the remodel status of their parklet. The fee for an initial parklet application is $1,000, according to the City website.
Parklets emerged during the pandemic, but they remain favorable in 2023.
The increase came as a surprise to many of the owners Central Oregon Daily News spoke to Wednesday.
“When folks ask what we’re doing with the fees for the parklets, we’re really investing those back in staff that are reviewing the applications,” said City of Bend Economic Development Manager Ben Hemson. “That’s why they went up. A whole lot of review of drainage safety and inspections for these parklets, especially if folks are making major renovations.”
Hemson says this administrative time ensures downtown parklets are safe and avoids issues such as puddling or impeding traffic.
Multiple business owners say they’re frustrated that the city is making it harder for them to survive.
“At the end of the day, this is the staff time it takes to review. And that’s what we have to charge,” Hemson said. “Our fee increase is not just for parklets, but for building permits or any other permit you come into the city or predicated on the amount of staff time that’s there. So, our goal is, if you come in for a building permit, you’re not subsidizing me coming in for a parklet license or vice versa.”
The city says they sent out a notice to parklet license holders before July 1 — the date the increase took effect.
There are currently 12 businesses with parklet licenses in downtown. Those parklets take up 30 parking spaces of downtown Bend’s 1,800 total — about 1.7%. The City says 5% of all on-street parking spaces in downtown Bend are available for parklet use.