A bill from Rep. Mark Klicker that would help strengthen communities and neighborhoods unanimously passes out of committee

The role of cafes in neighborhood settings has long had a significant impact on communities. These establishments provide a unique social space for people to gather, connect, and relax, fostering a sense of belonging and safety. In recent years, cafes have re-emerged as essential community spaces, enhancing the quality of life for residents.

New legislation from Rep. Mark Klicker that was voted out of committee on Friday would further promote this trend by allowing small cafes to set up shop in residential neighborhoods. The Local Government Committee unanimously approved House Bill 2252, which would require cities and towns to allow neighborhood cafes that meet certain requirements to be permitted in residential zones.

“This a simple bill, but it would make a big difference in our local communities and neighborhoods,” said Klicker, R- Walla Walla. “These small, local cafes create a sense of belonging and togetherness, which makes our communities feel safer and more connected.”

If the bill becomes law, a city or town must allow neighborhood cafes to be permitted in any zone allowing residential uses if they meet the following conditions:

  1. The total gross floor area of the cafe must be at least 500 square feet.
  2. There must be two parking spots.
  3. If alcoholic beverages are offered, food must also be offered.

The city would determine the cafe’s hours of operation, which could be limited based on each specific situation.

“These small neighborhood cafes provide a welcoming environment for individuals of all backgrounds to come together, which creates community bonds,” said Klicker. “The interactions within these spaces contribute to increased socialization, reduced feelings of isolation, and stronger neighborhoods.

“Additionally, cafes can promote more economic development and growth within a neighborhood, by bringing more foot traffic and creating additional job opportunities,” added Klicker. “This is a good bill that makes a lot of sense.”

HB 2252 now waits for an opportunity to be voted on by the entire House.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov