Port hits permit snag in planned fairgrounds renovation

Planned kitchen upgrades at the fairgrounds have hit permit snags, and the landowners are considering challenging the city over them.

Port of South Whidbey commissioners last Tuesday directed the executive director to tell Langley staff that it might appeal the city’s decision regarding permits for improvements to the commercial kitchen in the Coffman Building. The plans include moving an existing restroom and installing a walk-in cooler.

Director Stan Reeves told commissioners that city planning staff has determined the changes are significant enough to require additional improvements for ADA-compliance. He said the port could add the accessible parking spot at a significant additional cost or appeal the staff’s interpretation of codes and regulations.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of renovations at the fairgrounds, and if we’re held to new construction standards. … we’re not going to get very much done,” Commissioner Curt Gordon said.

Planning Director Brigid Reynolds said in an email that accessibility regulations apply to remodeling as well as new construction and the proposed changes are deemed “alterations” to “primary function areas” under standards published by the U.S. Department of Justice. She said the building official confirmed the determination with the Northwest ADA Center.

Changes made to areas with primary function require an accessible path including accessible parking areas, Reynolds said.

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