Flex Zones on Bothell's Main Street

2018 Guide to Outdoor Dining and Retail Public Area Use Permits

The new Main Street improvements support a thriving pedestrian-oriented environment in the heart of downtown Bothell. Main Street businesses can turn any of 16 street parking spots between 101st Ave NE and 102nd Ave NE into safe, street-level outdoor dining or shopping opportunities. These “flex zones” are bordered by 300-pound movable bollards.

Artist Rendering of Outdoor Dining on Main Street

What permit do I need to use the Flex Zone in front of my shop?

An Outdoor Dining and Retail Public Area Use Permit allows a restaurant, bar, coffee shop or store to set up tables and chairs on the Flex Zone immediately adjacent to the business from May 1 to September 30 each year. Restaurants and bars can serve alcohol in these areas if the business has an appropriate liquor license from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

In 2018, no fee will be charged for these permits. Additionally, the City has extended the March 15th deadline to allow businesses more time to apply for the permit if they wish to use the new Main Street flex zones. Please allow 15 business days (3 weeks) for application processing.

How do I apply for the permit? 

  1. Review the Outdoor Dining & Retail Standards.
  2. Create a site plan.
  3. Submit the Public Area Use Permit Application 46a and adjacent business letter of authorization, certificate of liability insurance, site plan, and copy of business license to the Permit Center at City Hall or online at www.MyBuildingPermit.com. Within two weeks of receiving your application, the Public Works Department will schedule a site visit as part of the review process.
  4. Receive approval, approval with modifications, or denial of the application within three weeks of submitting your application. Upon approval, the City will schedule relocation of the bollards.

What are the rules to use a Flex Zone? 

To use flex zones that cross property lines, the permit applicant must include the adjacent business owner’s written approval to use the space. In addition, these spaces must:

  1. Maintain 5’ wide path that gives clear access to the building.
  2. Maintain 5’ wide path for pedestrian flow along the sidewalk between the flex zone and the building entrance. Be compliant with ADA standards.
  3. Ensure any umbrellas are higher than 8’ above sidewalk grade, and that no part of the umbrella is within 25’ of a stop sign.
  4. Not include speakers or other noise amplification equipment.
  5. Ensure a 5' setback from any fixed objects such as benches, street lights, signs, curb ramps, and other street fixtures.
  6. Secure a separate license from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board if the business plans to serve alcohol.

What needs to be included in a site plan? 

  1. Outline of proposed outdoor dining area and furniture layout including tables, chairs, umbrellas, and electrical usage if lighting is proposed.
  2. Location of establishment providing the outdoor dining and surrounding buildings.
  3. Street trees, planters, light poles, benches, trash containers, and other furnishings.
  4. Proposed pedestrian circulation and right-of-way.
  5. Location and type of fencing surrounding the dining or sales area, if applicable.
  6. Location of signage. Reviewers will determine if a sign permit is necessary.
  7. ADA compliant, clear path of travel that is at least 5’ wide.

For more information contact: 

Peter Pearson