San Diego's coastal restaurants need to replace parking taken by outdoor dining

Coastal restaurants need to replace parking taken by outdoor dining
Posted at 9:55 PM, Sep 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-12 09:10:45-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A parklet outside of Woodstock's Pizza in Pacific Beach brings a lot of customers to the restaurant.

"I light a candle everyday that we get to keep our patio," said Jack Bouley, the General Manager.

Bouley said he's been able to keep the parklet through the City of San Diego's "Spaces as Places" permit program, which started during the pandemic and allowed restaurants to seat people on sidewalks and in parking lots because of the limitations, at the time, on indoor dining.

The city later made the program permanent, but the Coastal Commission recently approved new regulations.

"We've gotta do some backflips," Bouley said. "Every time they've asked us to make a change, we've made the change."

Starting Monday, the commission required business owners in beach areas to replace any parking spaces taken up by their parklets. The replacement spaces must be within 1,200 feet of the previous spots and owners have to apply for another permit. This comes out of concern over lack of parking and beach access along the coast.

"Everybody's kind of wading into this kind of slowly because you just don't know how much it's really going to cost," said Denny Knox with the Ocean Beach Main Street Association.

Knox said it might not be worth it for some restaurants. She expects owners to purchase parking spots in private lots to make up for lost space.

"Some took their streetery down because they don't gain enough from it to pay the fees," Knox said.

For now, Woodstock's is able to keep its parklet because of available parking behind the restaurant. But Bouley said the controversy is not over.

"We're in good shape, but we don't know what tomorrow's going to bring," Knox said.

The City of San Diego says restaurants with the previous permit have a 30-day grace period to replace parking spaces and apply for the new permit. After that, they could face a citation of up to $1,000.