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Santa Monica Extends Use of Outdoor Commercial Space

August 19, 2020 8:55 AM

Santa Monica Extends Use of Outdoor Commercial Space

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Today, the City of Santa Monica issued a third revised 18th supplement to Santa Monica’s local emergency declaration extending the use of outdoor commercial spaces. The supplement authorizes additional uses of outdoor space and provides greater clarity to local businesses around furnishings and materials as outdoor dining, retail, and services expand to safely bring Santa Monica’s vibrant local business offerings to the community. The supplement further authorizes such uses through the duration of LA County’s Safer at Home Order, plus an additional 30 days, so long as businesses either enter into an encroachment agreement with or obtain a permit from the City. All businesses must enter into new agreements with the City by September 7 (the date the second revised 18th supplement was set to expire) to continue to use the public right-of-way and obtain a permit to continue to use their private outdoor space. These efforts are being led by the Santa Monica Economic Recovery Task Force in partnership with Santa Monica’s business improvement districts and community partners. 

We thank our businesses for their continued compliance with the LA County guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These are made available at publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/ 

Among other things, the revised supplement: 

  • Defines approved outdoor furnishings to include movable tables, chairs, electric cordless and decorative lighting, and floor coverings, as well as umbrellas or canopies that are secured and maintain the height clearance for sidewalk or pedestrian passage.   
  • Sets guidelines for canopies, requiring that they (i) must have all sides open (i.e., it cannot be an enclosed tent), (ii) must be sufficiently secured to meet wind load requirements, (iii) may not exceed 700 square feet, and (iv) may not be utilized in close proximity to a propane heater (e.g., a propane heater may not be placed underneath a canopy).  
  • Permits propane heaters so long as the restaurant or business (i) has an existing or obtains a propane heater permit from the Santa Monica Fire Department, (ii) complies with the Santa Monica Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Policy Number 1-9 on Portable Propane Heaters, and (iii) secures or removes the propane heater(s) every day upon closing of the business.  Table lamps using liquid fuel, candles, or any fixtures other than a propane heater using an open flame are not permitted.  
  • Permits tables and chairs to be left outside the business after hours providing that they are secured against the building and leave at least five (5) feet of unobstructed access on the sidewalk. 
  • Sets standards for decks in both parklets and private property used for outdoor business, authorizing decks that comply with these standards without the need for a building permit.  Requires that any structures put in place in any parklet be brought into compliance with the deck standards in the supplement, and that any structures for outdoor business activity on private property be brought into compliance with the deck standards or other applicable building standards.   
  • Clarifies process for obtaining consent from or providing notice to neighboring businesses regarding proposed parklet use.  
  • Requires businesses to remove any temporary furnishings in the event of an emergency. 
  • Allows 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. 
  • Sets fines for violations of conditions for operating in the public right-of-way and in private outdoor spaces through administrative citations by Code Enforcement. The amount of the fine for a violation of any provision of the temporary use restrictions by a restaurant shall be:  $500 for the first violation; $750 for a second violation committed within one year for the first violation; and $1000 for a third violation or subsequent violations committed within one year of the first violation. 
  • Authorizes the Director of the Community Development Department to enter into temporary license agreements to permit the temporary use of portions of certain public parking facilities or the Santa Monica Pier, as designated by the Director, for temporary use by gyms and fitness establishments. 

This revision to the 18th supplement authorizes the use of sidewalk, parklet, and private outdoor space through the duration of LA County’s Safer at Home Order, plus an additional 30 days. Other provisions in the revised 18th supplement expire on earlier dates. 

The application to renew will be online at the temporary outdoor use website at santamonica.gov/temporary-use-of-outdoor-areas. Businesses can also submit interest to borrow outdoor commercial zone materials from the City. For questions or to submit your application, email the City at econdev@smgov.net. 

For additional questions about all efforts to expand outdoor experiences in Santa Monica, contact the City of Santa Monica’s hotline at (310) 458-8400 or info@santamonica.gov. Sign up for emergency alerts by texting SMALERT to 888-777 and regular email updates atsantamonica.gov/newsletter. 

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