Tent, Shade Structure Debate Continues for Downtown Businesses

The potential of permitting historic district businesses to set up tents, shade structures, and weather-related enclosures looks to be a continuing topic of discussion in the New Year.

As one of its final orders of business in 2017, members of the Board of Architectural Review recommended to the Planning Commission that tents be allowed in the Old & Historic District, but only on a temporary basis of six months or less. They recommended that specific guidelines for tents be developed. On shade structures, which would shield patrons from the rays of the sun, those instead would need to come before the BAR for approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness, board members recommended. Seasonal weather enclosures on business entranceways should be vetted for further debate, they said.

The Planning Commission had first chatted about the possibility of allowing tents and shade structures late last year, but decided to ask the BAR to weigh in before offering its own recommendations to the Town Council, which would have final approval on any Zoning Ordinance changes. The council has debated allowing tents on a few occasions over the last decade, but has thus far held off on allowing them except in cases of special events.

The Planning Commission is expected to be briefed on the BAR’s recommendations at its Feb. 1 meeting.

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