June 29, 2022 1:11 PM
Building on the successful two-year fee-free pilot program to sustain businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Santa Monica City Council approved a permanent program to allow local businesses to convert curbside parking spaces into vibrant extensions of the sidewalk and provide more space for people to dine, shop, and exercise.
The permanent Santa Monica Outdoors Parklet Program takes effect October 1, 2022 and will provide standards for the construction of parklets within the public right-of-way to ensure universal access, safety measures, maintenance and servicing of City assets, and guidelines for character-defining enhancements such as lighting and landscaping. The permanent program includes a streamlined review and permit process, requires standard traffic safety barriers, and increases outreach to business neighbors.
“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. “We are excited to support a permanent program that will allow businesses to continue outdoor activations Citywide.”
Santa Monica businesses paid no fees to participate in the temporary Outdoors pilot program that began over two years ago, and over 90 businesses took part. The program has been a tremendous resource to local businesses and members of the community who have taken advantage of the opportunities to safely dine, shop, exercise, and gather. Recent community surveys have shown overwhelming support for the program, with over 80% of participating businesses indicating a desire to continue their parklets and over 80% of residents supporting the program. Additionally, over 80% of residents and visitors would like to see more parklets and said they were more likely to patronize a business if they had a parklet.
“When other cities were shutting down their programs, we kept ours going,” said Santa Monica City Manager David White. “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.”
Permanent Parklet Program Overview:
- Beginning October 1, 2022, businesses utilizing the new Santa Monica Outdoors Parklet Program will be assessed a monthly fee of $2.12 per square foot for using space in the public right of way for outdoor activities. This cost recovery fee covers the cost of inspections, customer service, and ensures maintenance of public right of way access.
- Businesses will be allowed to use up to two parking spaces, and be required to comply with standards by January 1, 2023, to ensure a safe, accessible, and serviceable parklet.
- All Santa Monica businesses currently participating in the Santa Monica Outdoors Pilot Program will be notified about program changes by September 1, 2022. This notice will include information about the new permanent Santa Monica Outdoor Parklet Program and monthly license fees so that businesses have the option to participate in the program and renew their operation as-is (as long as they are in compliance with new regulations), opt out, or adjust the outdoor footprint to reduce monthly costs. Businesses who currently have a temporary permit are encouraged to apply for a permanent permit as soon as possible but no later than September 15, 2022, since temporary permits and associated license fees expire on September 30, 2022.
- Businesses who currently have a temporary permit and do not apply for the permanent program by September 15, 2022 will be required to remove their parklets by September 30, 2022.
- Santa Monica businesses who are not participating currently in the temporary Santa Monica Outdoors Pilot Program but would like to participate in the permanent program will need to apply for a Parklet Permit and License. More information is now available at www.santamonica.gov/programs/parklets.
Staff are currently working with Business Improvement District partners to review local business requests to allow for ongoing 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 2022 and November 2022 for use of private outdoor spaces. Staff will work with Pier tenants on a case-by-case basis to evaluate expanded dining requests and can then issue new or modified license agreements.
For more information about the program, visit www.santamonica.gov/programs/parklets. For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 3-1-1.
Public Information Coordinator