Meeting Time: September 12, 2023 at 9:00am PDT

Agenda Item

4c) Discussion and Possible Action to Direct Staff to Deprioritize Enforcement of Restaurant Tents within Coastal Zoning for 1 Year and Facilitate Collaboration with Mendocino City Community Services District, Mendocino Historic Review Board, California Coastal Commission and State Water Resources Control Board for Tent Policy within the Mendocino Historic District; and Direction to Planning and Building Services to Inform the Mendocino Historic Review Board that the Board of Supervisors Supports Tents within the Historic District and Advises They Are Compatible with Historic District (Sponsor: Supervisor Williams)

   Oppose     Neutral     Support    
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    Dan Feldman 3 months ago

    I support continuing the use of tents. Good for everyone.

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    Dee Hayward 3 months ago

    These are very tough economic times, and we are coming into another Covid season, why on earth would you make it harder for businesses thrive? Please remain.

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    Chay Peterson 3 months ago

    I strongly support outdoor tents remaining in Mendocino! When I visit Europe I dine outside…why not Sunny California? Since Covid, outdoor dining has become an alternative space to crowded cafes, bars, & restaurants. Let’s keep ‘em!

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    Ronnie Holland 3 months ago

    I enthusiastically support allowing restaurants to continue to use tents for all the reasons stated by others, but most importantly for the economic health of restaurants and their employees. Both suffered during the pandemic shutdown, and we applaud their recovery and creativity to make dining in the Mendocino area even more pleasant than before with the use of tents. Please allow them to thrive!
    Sincerely,
    Ronnie Holland

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    Jude Thilman 3 months ago

    attached is a memo in support of agenda item 4c

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    Bryant Burkhardt 3 months ago

    I would like to express my support for allowing restaurants to continue to use tents to provide outdoor seating. As a resident of Fort Bragg, I appreciate both the increased capacity as well as the increased safety provided by having outdoor seating with greater airflow during a continued pandemic of a respiratory virus which does not seem to be going away any time soon. I would encourage the board to work with the relevant bodies to set up a more permanent zoning policy that allows the tents and other measures to make outside seating possible and properly regulated.

    Thank you,
    Bryant Burkhardt

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    Scott WARD 3 months ago

    Dear Honorable Board of Supervisors

    I support the use of tents in Mendocino Village. The California Building Code has provisions in section 108 and in Appendix Chapter 31 for permitting temporary membrane structures (tents). The building official can allow the use of temporary structures for up to 180 days, and grant extensions. The tent fabric covering must approved as being ignition resistant by the State Fire Marshal. As a retired building official, I recommend that the following items should be considered when approving the use of tents for commercial purposes:

    Will the tent location block or impede existing emergency exits and passageways serving the existing building?

    Is the tent accessible to persons with disabilities (ADA)?

    Any electrical or mechanical (heating, fans, etc.) installations must be code compliant.

    Emergency exit passageways from within the tent must remain open and unobstructed.

    Will the additional occupant load (number of folks using the tent) require an increase in the size of existing restrooms?

    Sincerely,

    Scott Ward

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    ANNEMARIE WEIBEL 3 months ago

    To Supervisors,

    Please vote to Deprioritize Enforcement of Restaurant Tents within Coastal Zoning for 1 Year and Facilitate Collaboration with Mendocino City Community Services District, Mendocino Historic Review Board, California Coastal Commission and State Water Resources Control Board for Tent Policy within the Mendocino Historic District.

    Please also direct Planning and Building Services to Inform the Mendocino Historic Review Board
    that the Board of Supervisors Supports Tents within the Historic District and Advises They Are
    Compatible with Historic District.

    I have lived along the Mendocino Coast for 45 years. I never understood why there were hardly any restaurants that allowed outdoor seating. The climate here is conducive to that. In most European towns people gather outside of cafes and restaurants.

    The way many towns In the US arrange their streets is in a grid system whereby A, B, C streets meet up with 1,2, 3 streets and there are no town squares where people can gather.

    Thanks to Covid we realized that it is actually much more pleasant to eat outside rather than inside in a crowded restaurant. The local restaurants that have set up tents have created a great atmosphere with plants all around, or other pleasant decorations. Many have included heating lamps so it is possible to eat in the tents even when it is evening, or the fog moves in. In addition we allow people who’s system is immunocompromised to be able to enjoy a meal as well. Many people worry about Covid and that relieves some of these worries. People with children are more at ease as these settings create a more relaxed atmosphere. Also people with dogs and their dogs feel more at ease in such settings.

    Nowadays people spend most of their time inside. Many spend the majority of their time dealing with cell phones, computers, zoom meetings, etc. Even toddlers are already addicted to this technology that is very dangerous. Being in a tent and feeling the fresh air makes us feel good and reminds us that we lack connection to nature. It is high time to connect again with nature.

    Our economy has become a tourist economy. Many tourists have enjoyed the opportunity to dine in a tent. It is hard enough for many restaurant workers to find housing and feed their families with their salaries. It is important that these workers can keep their jobs.

    The people who for some reason or another are not in support of the tents are not forced to eat in a tent. If they do not like the fact that these white tents over time change color they do not need to look at them.

    Mendocino especially has a hard time with water. Having a tent does not double the amount of guests (or double the amount of water usage) as these businesses can only accommodate a certain amount of guests. People get to choose. There are people who prefer to eat inside, others not. The same goes for the septic system. Its use is not doubled. I believe that the tents improve the visual/aesthetic environment in this historic district. We have allowed prefab houses, houses with more vibrant colors, water storage tanks, and solar panels. There is no reason not to allow tents. They are safe and do not need to be designed by an engineer.

    I support the recommended action.

    Sincerely, Annemarie Weibel