December 15, 2021 11:39 AM
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — In a show of support for Santa Monica businesses and the entire community, City Council approved extending fee waivers for temporary use permits for outdoor dining and retail activations, including sidewalk dining, parklets, and the Promenade satellite dining through June 30, 2022.
“The outdoor dining program has been a lifesaver for our entire community during this pandemic, and we are eager to extend the program,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “For small businesses, workers, and residents, outdoor operations have meant businesses can stay open and employees can keep working while creating new and creative spaces for our entire community to enjoy a moment of delight and normalcy.”
This program has an estimated value to businesses of at least $1.4 million and has supported our entire community—businesses, workers, and residents—through the devastating effects of COVID-19 by creating safe and fun outdoor spaces for everyone to enjoy. Over 170 Santa Monica businesses have participated in the program, and the Santa Monica community has shared its overwhelming support, with over 96% of Santa Monicans wanting to eat and shop outside, and 79% of businesses reporting that parklets have increased their sales.
The Santa Monica Outdoors pilot program was created as one of the City’s first economic recovery projects in partnership with the local business community (Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., Main Street Business Improvement Association, Montana Avenue Merchants Association, Pico Improvement Organization, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, and Santa Monica Travel & Tourism), along with strong support from the Ocean Park Association starting in April 2020 to quickly expand outdoor dining, retail, and fitness opportunities in line with public health requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while helping keep our small businesses safely open. In June 2021, Council extended these fee waivers making these spaces available to local businesses free of charge through the end of 2021, while approving a fee schedule that authorized fees to be charged with at least 30 days' notice to businesses and “no sooner than January 1, 2022”. All participating businesses are required to obtain a free Temporary Use Permit and operate their outdoor areas in accordance with safety requirements.
Staff is currently reviewing the overall Santa Monica Outdoors program to continue support to local businesses while working to document the overall impacts and costs of maintaining Santa Monica’s vastly expanded outdoor dining program which includes staff time for maintenance, safety, periodic adjustments to barricades, parking impacts, and more. A more permanent program including an updated fee structure and timing for implementation will be reviewed by City Council in Spring 2022. The request for the extended fee waivers through June 30, 2022, will be incorporated into the City’s mid-year budget review process in February with a more permanent outdoor dining program including fees expected in July 2022.
What does this mean for Santa Monica businesses?
- Santa Monica businesses with pre-existing outdoor dining license agreements will continue to enjoy the benefits of fee waivers thru June 30, 2022.
- Santa Monica Businesses who would like to participate in this program need to obtain a Temporary Use Permit. The permit fees and monthly license fees to use the public right of way are waived through June 30, 2022. Apply here.
- Once the permanent program goes into effect, City staff will provide all Santa Monica businesses with 30 days’ notice of the new monthly license fees so that participating businesses have the option to keep operations as-is, opt-out or adjust the outdoor footprint to help lower costs.
- Updated guidance on winterizing outdoor dining business operations has been posted by the Santa Monica Fire Department including new guidance on outdoor heaters and their proximity to tents and canopies. Find it here.
For more information about the program, visit www.santamonica.gov/temporary-use-of-outdoor-areas. To learn more about the City’s most recent economic recovery programs, visit www.santamonica.gov/blog/10-programs-helping-santa-monica-bounce-back. For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 3-1-1.
Communications & Public Information Manager