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The Coffee House on the Bayfront does NOT have to pay big fee to the city to enclose its front veranda

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Coffee House owner Judy Lingham walked out of the Newport City Council meeting Monday night the winner in a dispute over whether she should pay a total of $9,000 in fees to the city just for the right to build an enclosure to her restaurant’s front veranda at 156 Bay Boulevard. Community Development Director Derrick Tokos said she should pay because she was adding square footage to her restaurant’s dining facilities and the addition triggered a building permit.

Lingham and her attorney Dennis Bartoldus didn’t dispute the building permit. They did dispute Lingham having to pay the system development charges that sometimes go with the building permit when expanded use or more square footage is created.

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The dispute centered around whether a roof for pre-existing square footage triggered the system development charges (SDC’s) portion of the fees. Her attorney, Dennis Bartoldus, maintained that enclosing her veranda was very similar to Nana’s Irish Pub in Nye Beach who extended her dining area out to the sidewalk and that she was not required to pay SDC’s. Tokos countered that Nana’s did not include a roof. Bartoldus contended that a roof is immaterial because she was not adding square footage to her business and therefore didn’t fall under the SDC requirement.

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It all came to a head Monday night. The council took Lingham’s side by maintaining that since the project didn’t add actual square footage or raise the level of use, there were grounds to grant her an exemption. And they did, on a unanimous vote.

The council also instructed Tokos to revamp the city’s SDC trigger language in the code to include “common sense” in the revision. We’ll see what he comes up with.

*** Correction from earlier version which indicated a 6 to 1 vote.

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