Danville Area Chamber Letter to Town Council, Item 8.1 (Ordinance 2021-05)

December 21, 2021

To: Danville Town Council

• Honorable Newell Arnerich
• Honorable Robert Storer
• Honorable Karen Stepper
• Honorable Renee Morgan
• Honorable Dave Fong

Re: Public Hearing Item 8.1 – Adoption of Ordinance No. 2021-05, an urgency ordinance

Dear Mayor Arnerich, Vice Mayor Storer and Town Council Members,

As you know, the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven community non-profit organization representing more than 500 members in the greater Danville Area of the San Ramon Valley.

In 2020 and 2021, we took the lead during the pandemic in assisting our members to secure loans and grants, providing support and becoming their advocates, as needed in this challenging time.

While Danville residents have been responsible in following the rules and are a model for vaccination adherence, more than 21 months later since the start of the pandemic, we find ourselves still battling the unpredictability of the disease and its variants.

For this reason, we are asking you to approve the urgency ordinance temporarily suspending outdoor seating limitations for restaurant uses within the Town of Danville and to authorize the extension of temporary land use permits and extended street closures by adopting Ordinance No. 2021-05.

We have heard from both residents and businesses. Outdoor café seating seems to be working well in attracting residents downtown – something we’ve been trying to encourage for years to enhance retail and service businesses as well as restaurants. The overwhelming consensus is that it’s too soon to suspend temporary
outdoor dining.

We cannot over-emphasize the importance of predictability to businesses, given so much pandemic uncertainty.

The Chamber’s opinion is that emergency ordinance should be extended as long as possible – perhaps even to the end of 2022 – to give businesses the predictability they need.

• Business and consumers need to know that they have options when it comes to both indoor and outdoor dining. This is especially true as we look at a possible crescendo of new variants in winter months.

• Varying health orders on the state and county level, new statewide mandates on indoor masking, and county vaccination card requirements have caused anxiety and frustration for the community at-large.

• Safety of our residents and customers downtown is of paramount importance to the Chamber. If it is feasible, perhaps there is a way to address safety of patrons by providing barricades at each end of the parklets that extend into the street.

• We have appreciated the Town dealing with issues important to our businesses, such as safety, garbage collection, noise ordinances and other things that demonstrate respect for neighboring retail businesses and customers. We look forward to working with you to address these and other community concerns.

• We also acknowledge that we and the Town share a common goal of maintaining the look and feel of our historic downtown. We look forward to our continued collaboration on the adoption of a permanent Downtown Master Plan for longer term planning. For the short term, we respectfully request that if the Town is inclined to adopt a plan to make parklets look more uniform, such a plan be put in place as soon as possible. Adequate lead time and clear expectations will give our businesses the direction they need to ensure their parklets match our town’s signature charm.

We all know that the extension of temporary outdoor seating is not meant to be a permanent solution, but we encourage and appreciate a continued dialogue with all of you, the Town Manager and the Economic Development staff as we look towards solutions to keep our businesses thriving now and in the future.

Best wishes and Happy Holidays!

Judy B. Lloyd
President & CEO

Kira Feick
2021 Board Chair

Glenn Bittner
2022 Chair-Elect