In June, La Jolla Shores Association once again vetted a proposal by member Phil Wise to open up Avenida de la Playa for on-street dining, only to discover later the City had granted their wish.
“We have something finally coming together,” LJSA president Janie Emerson told La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Committee on June 17. “We are going to close one block of Avenida de la Playa right after the Fourth of July to have on-street dining from Thursday through Sunday in the beginning. We will expand that as needed. We wanted you to know that the street is going to be closed, and to get your approval at your next meeting.”
On June 18, Mayor Kevin Faulconer introduced a new outdoor dining proposal to help the restaurant industry out by making it easier and more affordable for restaurants and small businesses to do business outdoors.
Under Faulconer’s proposal, the City will waive fees that can exceed $1,000 and fast-track permitting to help restaurants increase customer capacity. Securing an outdoor dining and retail permit can take several months to process. This new proposal helps hundreds of businesses by waiving fees and reduces processing times from weeks to several days.
Traffic and Transportation chair Dave Abrams asked Emerson whether or not the Avenida de la Playa outdoor dining proposal was a fait accompli.
“We have the insurance,” replied Emerson. “The fire marshal also needs to come out and walk it with us and take a look at what we’ve done.”
Emerson said the City Council will be asked to sign-off on Faulconer’s street dining proposal on July 7. “So we’ll open the eighth or ninth of July,” she said. “The City will waive the fees, which are about $1,200.”
Added Emerson, “If we were to open before the Fourth, we would be on the hook for the $1,200.”
With the continuing spread of the coronavirus, health officials have advised reducing dining capacity by maintaining at least six feet between tables. Faulconer’s proposal allows restaurants and retail businesses to maximize outdoor space, including parking lots and on-street parking spaces, to make up for lost revenue resulting from reduced indoor capacity.
All eating and drinking establishments, including restaurants, cafes, bars, breweries, and wineries are eligible. Retail establishments including furniture, appliances, pet supplies, apparel, and other convenience sales are also eligible.
The proposal reduces applicant costs for special events by waiving processing fees for applicants to operate in the public rights-of-way until social distancing mandates expire. It waives certain permit requirements and streamlines the review process to allow applicants to close streets and conduct business outdoors faster.