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SAN DIEGO — Several restaurants are raising concerns about the cost of outdoor dining fees.

The City of San Diego will soon start charging them a fee to keep outdoor dining under the “Spaces as Places” program.

The outdoor dining decks or “streetaries” in Little Italy may soon come with a cost.

“They’ve sticker shocked us!” said David Rodger of Filippi’s Pizza Grotto.

Businesses will have to start paying thousands of dollars in fees to keep the outdoor areas for customers under the City of San Diego’s “Spaces as Places” program. Some restaurants say the fees are too high.

“Between $25,000 to $30,000 a year. It’s now like an additional rent we will have to pay to the City of San Diego,” said Sara Arjmand of Allegro.

Under the program restaurants will be allowed a two-year permit for an average cost of $20 to $30 a square foot.

“How bout cutting those and make it like $5 a square foot for each year for the first, then after that make it ten, then make $15, then make it $20 so the businesses have a chance to recuperate,” Rodger said.

Meanwhile, the city says it is hosting a free webinar for businesses about the program next Tuesday morning.

“This is an optional program and I’m sure businesses will make a business decision to determine whether or not they want to have a streetary or whether or not they don’t want to have them. We hope they have them,” said Chris Larson, City of San Diego Development Services department coordinator.

Other businesses worry they will have to reduce or remove their decks or pass the cost down to the customer.

“A few of our restaurants are doing a surcharge which is a 3.75% service charge that we’re putting on all the checks to help raise that cost to help pay for the cost pretty much. Yeah, so we are passing on to consumers,” Arjmand said.

The Little Italy Association says so far five businesses have applied for the program.