Outdoor Restaurant Spaces Could Become Permanent, According to San Diego Plan

by on June 29, 2021 · 16 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Outdoor restaurant spaces have become common to many Ocean Beach, Little Italy and other San Diego streets as eateries and other businesses used them to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Now the outdoor eating areas could become permanent according to a plan the city of San Diego is currently working. Some businesses are rejoicing while others see the host of new restrictions and regulations as making things that much more complicated for business owners.

Currently, the city of San Diego is crafting a plan to develop a program that would allow business owners to permanently extend their outdoor space permits.

City leaders presented four possible permit options In an online workshop Thursday, June 10:

  • Streetaries: outdoor spaces created in areas formerly dedicated to parking spaces that serve as an extension of the restaurant or bar. Also known as a parklet.
  • Social curbs: permanent extension of the curb into the parking lane to facilitate a variety of activities such as recreational and outdoor dining.
  • Outdoor dining within the private property: outdoor dining in parking lots of a permitted eating and drinking establishment.
  • Promenade: partial or complete street closure to vehicular traffic to facilitate walking, biking, recreation, and outdoor dining.

According to 7SanDiego:

To obtain a permit for any of these options business owners will have to meet certain requirements and pay a fee. Rates have not been set yet and neither have requirements, but ideas have been tossed around.For example, to be approved for a “streetarie” permit, the city is suggesting business owners make sure the structure maintains sightlines and visibility above 42 inches, is at least 20 feet from an intersection and has no ceiling.

The requirements were not enforced when businesses were initially given temporary permits to set up shop outside. That means some business owners who already built structures will have to reconstruct them to meet code. And the city is still working on it and hopes to hear from businesses.


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam June 29, 2021 at 11:47 am

This will have unintended consequences concerning reductions of street parking for all of the surrounding businesses. It will drive people away from “main street” to the big box stores that have ample parking, which in turn will accelerate the demise of the mom and pop shops that make OB unique.


retired botanist June 29, 2021 at 2:41 pm

Ugh. But I’ve commented on the issue in previous articles. Its just wrong to reappropriate public space in this way, fees notwithstanding. As Sam points out, it totally caters (deliberate pun) to eateries and bars (nevermind the removal of pedestrian space), so that makes other businesses chopped liver when it comes to parking, etc?


Eric June 29, 2021 at 3:18 pm

Close Newport to cars. It seems like only the mom and pop shops want to keep it open to cars. The people want it to be open.


kh June 29, 2021 at 8:33 pm

Those mom and pop shops are the only thing left there I care much about. The rest are mainly for tourists.


Jem June 29, 2021 at 4:30 pm

I agree with Eric!

Any step making Newport less auto-centered is welcome. Eating instead of parking? Good. Wider sidewalk instead of parking? Good. Full pedestrianization? Good. A single one-way lane? Good. Meters with 2-hour limits instead of unlimited free parking? Good.

I have been in pedestrianized blocks all over the USA and Europe and East Asia. It is always wonderful. Far, far, far too much of the USA is devoted to cars, which kill people, hit people, poison people with exhaust, harm us with noise, harm us with toxic tire particles even for electric cars.


Kate Bell June 29, 2021 at 4:46 pm

Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze public parking into residential areas. First- the scooters now parking places. Don’t we get a say in this?


Tom June 29, 2021 at 4:49 pm

What do you think will happen when it rains?


Frank J June 29, 2021 at 4:52 pm

Does anyone doubt the city will make the worst decision? Private parking lots converted are something a taxpayer has no say on. But public streets? Can I bring my own food and drink and sit at a table on my public street?


Geoff Page June 30, 2021 at 8:13 pm

Actually, Frank J, taxpayers do have a say in what happens with private parking lots. Businesses are required to provide a certain amount of parking per the Municipal Code.


kh July 1, 2021 at 1:52 am

Lol. Come check out what’s happening at Bravo’s old location. No permits, no parking, no problem!


Douglas Blackwood June 29, 2021 at 8:02 pm

Sidewalks belong to the public! I understand why owners would like this: COVID etc; however; this is public property, which would impede citizen parking, & beach access.
Too many vendors dominating Vet monument, and grass on Abbott now!


kh June 29, 2021 at 8:35 pm

I guess we don’t pay enough taxes for them to care. Our parks and sidewalks have become for-profit business real estate over the past year.


Space Cadet June 30, 2021 at 5:49 am

I agree that public space shouldn’t be utilized for private profits. I do disagree with this notion of ‘Mom and Pop” businesses along Newport being affected, simply because they don’t exist anymore. Last I saw, apart from a few remaining clothing stores, the antique mall, and the grilled cheese spot, these places are backed by mega corporations and restaurant groups.

Long gone are the days of old and the notion that we have some sort of bucolic beach town that needs preservation.


Sam June 30, 2021 at 1:06 pm

There are exactly two mega corporation tenants on Newport, Starbucks and Target. It is a ridiculous notion to state anything otherwise, and frankly disrespectful to all the merchants who are trying to keep their businesses afloat.


Chris June 30, 2021 at 6:40 pm

While there are not too many “mom and pop” businesses compared to the past, nearly all the bars and restaurants are not exactly “mega” corporations. Some are independently owned but others are still owned by local San Diego companies. Your post is a bit over exaggerated.


lyle June 30, 2021 at 9:10 am

It’s time to do a holistic plan for the Newport business district including, at least, Newport, Santa Monica and Abbott/Bacon/Cable from Santa Monica to Niagara. The plan should include not just th piecemeal process of permitting individual dining areas, but include overal impacts and solutions regarding traffic, parking, pedestrians, architecture, etc. The businesses could kick this off by providing some seed money to the city or by commissioning the study themselves. The businesses have a signuficant stake in this since providing additional tables won’t be all that helpful if the customers can’t find a nearby place to park.

Although I really really like the outdoor dining, continuance of this should involve fair-value lease rates, code compliance, and support of alternate parking resources. I have been to several other community business districts where someone has built an adjacent public parking garage, but there may be other solutions for OB.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: