City of Mill Valley officials this week unveiled its staff report around the future of the Outdoor Business Program, which was born amidst the chaos of business disruption in the first of 2020, the early stages of a rollercoaster ride that has been largely unrelenting in the two years since.
At its outset, the program saw city officials spearheading a multi-city effort to create a framework for outdoor dining that blossomed all over town. The result – a ministerial approval system for the private use of both public and private spaces – was trailblazing at a time when health restrictions required you to be outside, do takeout or close your doors. Restaurants embraced the thrill of outdoor dining. Fitness facilities repurposed any outdoor space they could find to host workouts. Hair and nail salons pampered their clients in the open air.
In recent months, city officials have sought a framework that limits outdoor use to certain months of the year. While opposing a proposed seasonal program that limits outdoor use from June 1 to Oct. 31, the Mill Valley Chamber wholly supports the decision to extend the existing program through Oct. 31, 2022, to allow city officials runway to conduct a study that identifies longer term plans for outdoor use. The Chamber in no way presumes or pre-judges the outcome of such a study, but welcomes the consideration of the full range of outdoor uses that are right-sized for our community.