Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

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By Jack Simon
Observer Staff Writer 

Santa Monica Council Greenlights Permanent Outdoor Dining Program

Dining and Retail Parklet Program takes effect October 1

 

Mary Leipziger

Outdoor dining at a Santa Monica parklet became popular during Covid lockdowns.

Buoyed by the success of a pandemic-era pilot program, the Santa Monica City Council this week approved a permanent program to allow local businesses to convert curbside parking spaces into sidewalk dining and retail areas. 

The permanent Santa Monica Outdoors Parklet Program takes effect October 1 and includes a streamlined review and permit process and provides standards for traffic safety and neighbor outreach, said city officials. 

"The Santa Monica Outdoors Program has been a critical resource to keep businesses open in Santa Monica throughout the pandemic and has been loved and utilized by business owners and patrons alike," said Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich at Tuesday night's meeting. "We are excited to support a permanent program that will allow businesses to continue outdoor activations citywide." 

Started two years ago, the free outdoors program was popular with the business community. Over 90 businesses took part in the program, which has garnered support from 80% of residents and businesses in a recent community survey, city officials said.

"Knowing that expanded outdoor spaces have been critical to our entire community over the past two years, the City is proud to create this long-term program to help businesses thrive in Santa Monica," said City Manager David White.

Provisions in the Outdoors Program include:

Businesses will be assessed a monthly fee of $2.12 per square foot for using space in the public right of way for outdoor activities;

Mary Leipziger

Outdoor dining at a Santa Monica parklet became popular during Covid lockdowns.

Businesses will be allowed to use up to two parking spaces, and be required to comply with standards by January 1, 2023; and

Businesses currently participating in the program will be notified about changes by September 1. If they do not apply for the permanent program by September 15, they will be required to remove their parklets by September 30. 

City officials said they are currently working with Business Improvement District partners to review requests to allow for on-going expanded Promenade dining and long-term use of private outdoor spaces such as parking lots. Recommendations for expanded use of the Promenade will be brought back to Council in August and November 2022 for use of private outdoor spaces, officials said.

More information can be found at www.santamonica.gov/programs/parklets. 

 

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