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Temporary Use of Sidewalks, Parking Spaces, and Private Outdoor Spaces for Extra Outdoor Area

Program Information

Santa Monica businesses can temporarily use public sidewalks, the Main Street parking lane, portions of the Pier and Third Street Promenade, convert on-street parking spaces into parklets, and private outdoor space for outdoor business activity  while the County Department of Public Health’s Safer at Home Order in place an additional 30 days thereafter per the City of Santa Monica’s Local Emergency Order and regulations (updated 8/27). The revised Emergency Order issued on August 18, 2020 authorizes the City to assess a monthly fee for the use of space in the public right-of-way after November 1, 2020, with 30 days’ notice provided to businesses. This temporary use program was created to help facilitate the safe re-opening of businesses per the LA County Public Health COVID-19 Guidelines. As you re-open, please be sure to follow the County's safety protocols and guidelines. 

Please click on the link to submit a new application. 

At the completion of the process, you will receive a certificate that is required to be posted on the front door of your business as verification that you have obtained approval for use of public or private outdoor space.

Businesses have six options to expand their outdoor area. Please note that it is required that you apply and receive approval before use of the outdoor area. 

  1. Sidewalk Expansion
  2. Main Street Parking Lane
  3. Parklet within Existing Street Parking
  4. Santa Monica Pier Deck
  5. Third Street Promenade Roadway
  6. Expansion onto Private Property 
APPLY HERE

How Do I Apply?

Use of Public Right-of-Way

Businesses must be currently licensed to operate in Santa Monica with a valid Santa Monica business license. To get started, you need to complete the following in the online application:

  1. Complete and sign the application form.
  2. Gather your proof of insurance. You will have 14 days after start of use to add the City of Santa Monica as an additional insured and grant the City a waiver of subrogation. Send the Temporary Covid-19 Outdoor Encroachment Agreement to your insurance professional to expedite this process.
  3. Read and implement all social distancing and infection control requirements  as described in the County's Protocols for Re-Opening, as well as all of the Conditions in the Emergency Order. Please also see the Santa Monica Cares Business Re-Opening Toolkit.  Note that the COVID-19 health protocols must be implemented throughout all areas of your business operations (inside and outside).
  4. Completion of the Activity Checklist for Temporary Use of Public Spaces.
  5. If using sidewalk or parking space in front of neighboring property, provide consent from Tenant or Owner. 

New Outdoor Public Space App

Use of Private Outdoor Space

Businesses must be currently licensed to operate in Santa Monica with a valid Santa Monica business license. To get started, you need to complete the following in the online application:

  1. Businesses can start their activity after submitting a self-certification checklist.

New Private Space Application

Alcohol Beverage Service

Alcohol beverages may be served only by restaurants that:

  1. Currently have a license to sell alcoholic beverages from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”);
  2. Have an existing City permit (Conditional Use Permit or Alcohol Exemption) or are operating as an existing legal non-conforming alcohol outlet without a Conditional Use Permit.

If the restaurant seeks to serve alcohol in the expanded public or private space, the restaurant must submit a COVID-19 Temporary Catering Authorization Form and diagram to and obtain approval from the ABC.  More at https://www.abc.ca.gov/law-and-policy/coronavirus19/.


Program Options: What Type of Expansion is Best for Me? 

Sidewalk Expansion

Sidewalk expansions are outdoor areas on the sidewalk, directly adjacent to the business, that are enclosed and allow for additional display and/or seating.

* Diagrammatic Only

Sidewalk Expansion Regulations

Sidewalk expansions must maintain 5’ of continuous unobstructed pedestrian access.

Apply Here

Main Street Parking Lane

Businesses on Main Street can take advantage of the closure of a parking lane, without the need to apply for a Parklet, and can expand up to 13’ out into the roadbed but must maintain a 54" accessible path of travel.

* Diagrammatic Only

Main Street Parking Lane Regulations

Main Street Parking Lane expansions must be ADA compliant: 

  • ADA compliant ramp down to the parking lane, with a 54” path of travel on the street side edge of the enclosure. 

Main Street Parking Lane expansions must occupy the area directly in front of the proposed business, and may elect to expand to be in front of the adjacent storefront, with property owner or tenant permission.  

Apply Here

Parklet Within Existing Parking

Parklets are enclosed outdoor areas within an existing on-street parking or loading space. Parklets may expand into adjacent parking spaces, with neighboring property owner or tenant consent if the parking or loading space is substantially in front of the neighboring property  If the neighboring property has not provided consent, the business applying to use the parklet space must provide notice to the neighboring property using this form. See the Tactical Parklet Manual for step-by-step guidance on planning, permitting, and setting up a parklet. 

Parklet ADA Requirements

Parklets must meet ADA requirements. One way to meet ADA requirements is to also apply for a sidewalk expansion, so that you are providing the same service on the sidewalk area without requiring a ramp down to the parklet.

* Diagrammatic Only

Another option is to provide an ADA ramp down to the street, but this requires at least two parking spaces to allow sufficient space for the ramp. 

* Diagrammatic Only

Parklet Regulations

Parklets must meet all design and safety specifications, and must be located on streets with a speed limit of 25 MPH or less and speed limit of 30 MPH or less, if there is a bike lane. See the diagrams below for specific design regulations (click to enlarge).

See the map below to identify speed limits and bike facilities that impact temporary parklet design criteria.  (Reminder – parklets are allowed on streets of 25MPH with or without bike lanes; parklets are allowed on streets of 30MPH only when a bike lane is present.)

Santa Monica Pier Deck

Businesses on the Santa Monica Pier may expand their outdoor areas to the pier deck directly in front of and adjacent to the business. Contact Elana Buegoff (Elana.Buegoff@smgov.net) for more information on what is required for approval.  

Third Street Promenade

Businesses on the Third Street Promenade may expand their outdoor areas into the sidewalk for all business activity. An expansion into the Promenade roadway is limited to dining only.   Please make sure to contact Martin Ronzio-Garcia (martin@downtownsm.com) at DTSM prior to submitting your Promenade application.

Private Outdoor Space

Businesses may expand into privately owned outdoor space, such as parking lots, courtyards, plazas, or other privately owned spaces with the consent of the property owner or tenant. Applicants must obtain a temporary use of private outdoor space permit for use of private outdoor space. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the Do's and Don'ts of Temporary Use of Public Space?

Start here. (Updated August 26)

Q: What are common application mistakes?

Some early applicants forgot to return proof of insurance listing the City of Santa Monica as an additional insured within the 14 day period after the requested start date. You will need to work with your insurer or agent to obtain this form; it's a routine request and should not take that long. Contact us at econdev@smgov.net if you are running into issues.

Q: Can I operate a temporary outdoor dining area?

Restaurants currently licensed to operate with a Santa Monica Business License can set up temporary outdoor dining on public sidewalks or adjacent to your business after entering into the temporary encroachment agreement with the City. 

The temporary outdoor encroachment agreement is only needed for restaurants utilizing public space like the sidewalk. Consent from the owner or tenant is needed to either expand to the sidewalk in front of a neighboring business or to use private outdoor space, and businesses should be prepared to furnish copies of the consent on request.

Q: Can the City lend me materials for a parklet in front of my business?

To support our local businesses in economic recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitate the use of outdoor space, the City of Santa Monica will be providing a limited parklet materials on loan to eligible businesses free of charge. At this time, approximately 15 parklets (of up to two parking spaces in length) will be selected in neighborhoods across the City.

If you are interested in borrowing materials, please review the Tactical Parklet Manual to determine if your location is suitable for a parklet and then state your interest using this survey form. Please note that you must create a free and easy CityGrows account to complete the form.

If selected, you will need to apply to use a parklet and enter into a temporary encroachment agreement with the City; pick up the materials; set up your parklet in accordance with the design and safety specifications in the Emergency Order; provide your own sand, soil, and plants for the planters; and return the materials to the City once finished. If you are not selected, you may still apply for temporary use of a parklet and use your own materials (please see Tactical Parklet Manual for list of materials required and how-to guide).  If you have any questions, contact the Economic Development Team at (310) 458-8906 or email: EconDev@smgov.net.

Q. How do I launch a parklet in front of my business?

Our updated Temporary Outdoor Activity - Tactical Parklet Manual will tell you how. 

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