State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets  title=
State Street Promenade (Photo: City of Santa Barbara)
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By the edhat staff

The Santa Barbara City Council has approved outdoor dining structure fees for restaurants and vendors using parklets on State Street.

After nearly two hours of discussion and three rounds of voting on Thursday, the council voted 4-2 to enact a tiered fee system beginning May 1, 2023.

Businesses in the 400 through 1300 blocks of State Street will be charged based on portability at street grade, the amount of space used, and how far the structure extends into city-owned property.

Below is the following rate structure: 

Standard Rate (not portable, with platform and roof)*
$5.00 per square foot up to 100% of building frontage
$7.50 per square foot 100-200%
$10.00 per square foot 200%+
*Only allowed for existing businesses with platforms and roofs. 
 
Rate for No Roof (not portable, with platform)**
$4.50 per square foot up to 100% of building frontage
$6.75 per square foot 100-200%
$9.00 per square foot 200%+
​**Only allowed for existing businesses with platforms.  
 
Rate for Portable (with platform, no roof)***
$4.00 per square foot up to 100% of building frontage
$6.00 per square foot 100-200%
$8.00 per square foot 200%+
​***Only allowed for existing businesses with platforms.  
 
Rate for At-Grade (portable, no platform, no roof)**** 
$3.00 per square foot up to 100% of building frontage
$4.50 per square foot 100-200% 
$6.00 per square foot 200%+
​***This is the only version new businesses will be allowed to have. 

An application is in development and will be released soon, but businesses with questions are encouraged to contact Brian Bosse bbosse@santabarbaraca.gov or Sarah Clark at sclark@santabarbaraca.gov.

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BufordNgoleta Jan 25, 2023 10:26 AM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

I think having variable rates is counter priductive. Let users decide whether chairs & tables in the street or elaborate structures. Charge a nominal $1 per sqft for the space. The art show is another example where the city doesnt vary the fee based on what you set up.

paglinsb Jan 23, 2023 12:48 PM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

The problem with this promenade is that it is not user-friendly. It is on a hill, which those with mobility issues definitely notice. And it covers a distance which can wear out those who, in the past, would cruise slowly (thanks to speed limit and abundant traffic lights) past the shops and restaurants with out-of-town guests in tow, and when we saw something fun, we'd turn off to the nearest parking lot and brows that block. Only places we already know get our business. No browsing and spontaneous "Oh, let's try that place!" Definitely some sort of easy shuttle is called for, like the old trolley, but smaller --maybe life the carts at airports that tote up to 6 folks around.

Arty SB Native Jan 23, 2023 10:54 AM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

I miss old State Street . I know we will probably never go back, but I hope that they make it a nice pedestrian mall, similar to Boulder, CO, or Santa Monica…pavers, etc. I think it’s a good idea for the city to charge rent for sidewalk and road space. Hopefully, the extra $$ will be used by the city to keep the area clean, rat free, and beautiful! Right now, it’s pretty bad.

citizenSB Jan 23, 2023 10:32 AM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

I can see charging rent but the amounts seem way out of line. Top State Street rent is $5/sq foot and the city wants $3 to $10/sq foot for asphalt ? The city is saying that is the amount needed for cleaning, I think the city needs to take a close look at their cost, it seems way out of line.
With the prices the city wants to charge restaurants will look at renting more inside space and move off the streets. Is that really what the city wants?

bradleybennett Jan 23, 2023 09:40 AM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

It's reasonable for the city to charge rent for using public space to operate a business. Most cities do the same. If you didn't structure rent fees for using public space then it would be a free for all and the city wouldn't get money to help maintain and improve the space which is what the fees ultimately should be for, whether directly or indirectly applied. Are the fees too high? I don't know know, but hopefully they researched what other municipalities are charging and worked with the business owners in the community that would be affected to figure out pricing.

It's also short sighted to say that charging rent for outdoor space will cause restaurant to raise rates. Sure it's going to now cost more than while it was free during the pandemic, but that couldn't last and it wasn't sustainable long term. However, a business shouldn't be looking to rent this space unless the extra square footage will help them increase profits. If not, then they shouldn't rent the space. Question - may parklet space be rented seasonally? I can see a lot of situations where being able to rent parklets for the summer or for holidays would be great for businesses but that they may not need it off season.

a-1674494602 Jan 23, 2023 09:23 AM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

Its great that the city is going to maintain the area around the parklets, however, can they start with perhaps power washing the sidewalks? They are filthy and have been for a very long time, preparklet.

Gimli Jan 23, 2023 09:17 AM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

This just ridiculous for the City of SB to implement this!! Now the restaurant owners on State St. are going to have to raise the prices on their menus to pay extra for the parklets. It is bad enough for them paying high lease to the property owners on the commercial space to operate their restaurants. If I was a restaurant owner on State St. and had a parklet, I would remove it ASPP and have complete indoor dining and do the very best I can to have my menu prices reasonable as well as beer, wine and well drinks. Politics = money and money = politics, that's how it goes with local, state and national. It hurts the people in their pocket books to those who are not wealthy or super-wealthy.

a-1674565797 Jan 24, 2023 05:09 AM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

9:17, I'd say that restaurants above & below the pedestrian part of State are doing what you suggest, as are the restaurants a block off State. State is actually favored, as we all know.
I like it, but I care about the businesses around the State closure. It's not my pay grade to figure out how to design and balance downtown SB.

Ahchooo Jan 23, 2023 09:51 AM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

If a restaurant has more square-footage for serving, they should be able to cover the costs. The whole point of the parklets was to give restaurants a way to operate when indoor dining was forbidden or discouraged. Generally we don’t let people operate businesses on public property for free.

GeneralTree Jan 22, 2023 11:38 PM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

Randy Rowse taxing businesses wow..... So hard to operate here anyway. Randy's campaign promise was to make the parks safe again. Still addicted lawless homeless everywhere. Randy - we have daily broken window incidents with multiple businesses - WTF is going on .... you've done NOTHING to address it. Thanks Randy - keep thinking of the little people that voted for you at your next martini dinner or ribbon cutting. We're still trying to survive while you are enjoying steak dinners and hobnobbing with the elite.

Ehdat Jan 23, 2023 07:11 AM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

Multiple window breaks and numerous swarming robberies? I live here and hear of most everything, and have never heard of such frequency. Please share these details. There has been much less vandalism than say 5-10 years ago when almost no business could escape window etchings for example.

GeneralTree Jan 22, 2023 11:40 PM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

I wasn't a fan of Cathy Murillo - but hell bring her back. There are multiple downtown window breakings and numerous store swarming robberies - and you literally can't do anything to help WTF Randy?

a-1674432254 Jan 22, 2023 04:04 PM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

I understand charging differently for portable/not portable...but what the heck is up with charging differently whether there is a platform and/or roof? What am I missing here?

And why is this option only available for those restaurants that already have parklets? Doesn't seem very fair for new businesses...hmm

a-1674489987 Jan 23, 2023 08:06 AM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

General, it’s not a tax, it’s a rental fee for using city property (the street). The city should put the money toward cleaning the areas around the parklets, and toward police bicycle patrols to keep the area safe.

Ehdat Jan 23, 2023 07:20 AM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

There is nothing wrong with roofs. They are trying to phase out old grandfathered designs so that they can be more portable in the possibility that through attrition can bring back the possibility for parades etc. This was probably expected, because this was an emergency economic recovery ordinance, and ironically managing the recovery of business affected the recovery of government. Hopefully the City doesnt just open that part of State Street to cars.

SBStoner Jan 22, 2023 11:42 PM
State Street Restaurants to Pony Up for Parklets

Probably not the reason but the roofs block light at a higher level and considering we are a tourism based city we can only tolerate a certain amount of “optional dimming” on our main street.

I’m all for the parklets generating income. They are after all on city property

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