Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Restaurant Row Resolved

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Standing in front of city hall with local restaurant industry leaders and attorneys, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner announced that an agreement had been reached to addresses concerns regarding disputes between entertainment venue owners and the city.

The agreement would establish a Community Advisory Board that would arbitrate between the city and restaurants and bars, describing is as sort of a middle ground so that a venue can keep operating while it disputes a citation.

“Small local businesses are key to economic success,” Verner says. She also talked about a host of other pro-business steps the city has taken, such as upgrading the permitting process for businesses and repaving many streets.

Relations between the city and businesses were not always so cheery. Last year, the Spokane Alliance of Bars and Restaurants, or SABR, complained to city officials about the Good Neighbor Agreements many restaurants agree to in order to get business licenses, saying there was no way for businesses to dispute code violations, according to a statement from the mayor's office.

Jerry Davis, attorney for SABR, says he thought the process for resolving complaints would be long and arduous, but was surprised by how quickly all sides came into agreements.

“We got everything we wanted,” says SABR leader, RJ Portmann.

The agreement must now be approved by the city council, Verner says, but she expects it to pass.

— CHRIS STEIN

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About The Author

Chris Stein is a staff writer at The Inlander. He covers social services, downtown Spokane, Eastern Washington and Spokane city hall. His work has been published by the Associated Press, VeloNews and the Santa Barbara Independent. He was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.