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Solana Beach out in front to prolong outdoor dining

Coastal rules will not make it easy for beach cities

Pillbox Tavern's use of public parking
Pillbox Tavern's use of public parking

As temporary outdoor dining winds down in San Diego, Solana Beach is looking to extend the permits until next year.

Tomorrow, July 13, the temporary outdoor dining permits that helped restaurants stay open during Covid-19, expire.

Solana Beach City Council on Wednesday will consider approving an extension of the permits through January 1, 2023, to give the city time to evaluate how outdoor dining might be allowed to continue.

In the city of San Diego, there's a plan for permanence called Spaces as Places, which the city began taking applications for in January. It entails far more hoops and costs, and while everyone can apply, the option isn't yet open to coastal cities.

That's because it requires a change to local coastal programs, meaning the Coastal Commission has to certify San Diego's new regulations before businesses in seaside communities can obtain a permanent permit.

City of San Diego spokesman Anthony Santacroce says the commission has not yet provided a timeline for the review. Meanwhile, coastal cities can apply, but will have to wait on a permit. As of July 13, San Diego has received multiple applications but have only confirmed 15 permits for Spaces as Places, he says.

Solana Beach approved its temporary use permit policy on June 10, 2020. Last December, the city council extended it through September 6, 2022.

According to a staff report, the city has approved 33 applications, 24 of them for businesses with outdoor dining. Nineteen of the restaurants with outdoor dining are using parking areas, while two - Pillbox Tavern & Saddle Bar - rely on public parking spaces. The others utilize public and/or private sidewalks.

No new applications have been filed since the city's last extension in April 2021, but temporary outdoor dining is still being used by most of the businesses, and there's no push to end it.

Businesses, business districts, the chamber of commerce, and the public all want outdoor dining to continue, the report says. The city is trying to minimize conflict with parking.

Assembly Bill 61, approved last year by Governor Newsom, impacts certain outdoor dining from January 1, 2022 until January 1, 2024. Where outdoor expansion helps make up for pandemic restrictions on indoor dining, required parking spaces must be reduced by as many spaces as the city determines would be needed. The city's current Covid-19 temporary-use permit policy meets the state's requirements.

Encinitas and Carlsbad have recently extended their permits and want to make outdoor dining permanent. Cities will have to draft new regulations that conform to a much stricter set of rules, and restaurants, after a long break, will face hefty costs.

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Pillbox Tavern's use of public parking
Pillbox Tavern's use of public parking

As temporary outdoor dining winds down in San Diego, Solana Beach is looking to extend the permits until next year.

Tomorrow, July 13, the temporary outdoor dining permits that helped restaurants stay open during Covid-19, expire.

Solana Beach City Council on Wednesday will consider approving an extension of the permits through January 1, 2023, to give the city time to evaluate how outdoor dining might be allowed to continue.

In the city of San Diego, there's a plan for permanence called Spaces as Places, which the city began taking applications for in January. It entails far more hoops and costs, and while everyone can apply, the option isn't yet open to coastal cities.

That's because it requires a change to local coastal programs, meaning the Coastal Commission has to certify San Diego's new regulations before businesses in seaside communities can obtain a permanent permit.

City of San Diego spokesman Anthony Santacroce says the commission has not yet provided a timeline for the review. Meanwhile, coastal cities can apply, but will have to wait on a permit. As of July 13, San Diego has received multiple applications but have only confirmed 15 permits for Spaces as Places, he says.

Solana Beach approved its temporary use permit policy on June 10, 2020. Last December, the city council extended it through September 6, 2022.

According to a staff report, the city has approved 33 applications, 24 of them for businesses with outdoor dining. Nineteen of the restaurants with outdoor dining are using parking areas, while two - Pillbox Tavern & Saddle Bar - rely on public parking spaces. The others utilize public and/or private sidewalks.

No new applications have been filed since the city's last extension in April 2021, but temporary outdoor dining is still being used by most of the businesses, and there's no push to end it.

Businesses, business districts, the chamber of commerce, and the public all want outdoor dining to continue, the report says. The city is trying to minimize conflict with parking.

Assembly Bill 61, approved last year by Governor Newsom, impacts certain outdoor dining from January 1, 2022 until January 1, 2024. Where outdoor expansion helps make up for pandemic restrictions on indoor dining, required parking spaces must be reduced by as many spaces as the city determines would be needed. The city's current Covid-19 temporary-use permit policy meets the state's requirements.

Encinitas and Carlsbad have recently extended their permits and want to make outdoor dining permanent. Cities will have to draft new regulations that conform to a much stricter set of rules, and restaurants, after a long break, will face hefty costs.

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