SAN DIEGO — Outdoor dining can now stay in San Diego and along the coast after approval Wednesday from the California Coastal Commission — but it is under tighter restrictions.
The City of San Diego’s proposed program plans to transition temporary outdoor dining to permanent outdoor dining.
The Spaces as Places program from the city, approved by the coastal commission, requires some restaurants in beach areas to provide the same amount of free parking spaces that their outdoor dining is taking up.
According to the city’s proposal, “Public Parking must be replaced with an equivalent number of no-cost parking spaces either on site or through a shared parking agreement.”
”This is a private commercial use that is extending into the public right of way and it is occupying public parking, and so in the beach impact area, we wanted there to be a no net loss of parking if these commercial enterprises, these restaurants wanted to use the space,” Alexander Llerandi with the California Coastal Commission said.
If the restaurant can’t replace the parking space elsewhere that they are using for outdoor dining, then the coastal commission said they cannot use the space.
It’s unclear how this will be enforced.
“I would like to keep the outdoor dining I think it’s great for business,” Vannesa Perea, supervisor at Scoops La Jolla, told FOX 5. “I think it is nice for people to have a space to just walk through, relax and come and enjoy the Shores.”
Scoops La Jolla sits on Avenida de la Playa, which has been closed to cars since the pandemic, and restaurants have taken up the parking spaces for outdoor dining.
Perea said it will be difficult for the small businesses to foot the bill for parking spaces and some won’t have a choice but to get rid of their outdoor dining areas.
“It’s kind of a toss up,” Ricky Taitt told FOX 5. He was picking up to-go food at La Jolla Shores and couldn’t find a parking space. He said it would be nice to have the approximately 22 parking spaces back, but is hesitant to give up the nice atmosphere the closed street provides.
The city and coastal commission has not yet announced when this will go into effect.