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Coast Village Road parklets will be cut back to create more parking spaces

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A letter from City Hall has gone out to businesses on Coast Village Road in Santa Barbara to reshape the parklets and create more parking spaces.

The outside dining areas were created during the COVID crisis.

The current city policies allow for the parklets until Dec. 31, 2023.

Some businesses were calling for a new review of the parklets in the last few months.   

In August, a meeting with the city and business owners took place to talk about the issues, the parking needs, and also what it might do to staffing if the current dining areas were changed.

The city says that currently, eight businesses use 28 parking spaces. Coast Village Road has 131 spaces overall.  

The plan is to limit the parklets' size to two side-by-side parking spaces.

The deadline for the changes will be Oct. 28th. That will be followed by an inspection and review.

The compromise solution still allows outside for outside dining, but it's unclear how many actual seats will be lost.

It will be reviewed again in 2023.

The letter was sent by City Administrator Rebecca Bjork. In it she said, "we appreciate the public and business community working jointly to ensure equal opportunities for all businesses on Coast Village Road."

Coast & Olive Restaurant owner Jim Copus said, "I think all of our friends and family enjoy eating outside.  Santa Barbara has the weather for it but oddly not enough spaces for it."
One customer said, even when it's busy she can work it out. Veronica Haynie said "honestly I'm here all the time.  Personally, I have never had a problem. I mean you may have to walk a little but but hey it's not that far."
 A plant decorator said she goes with the flow.

Sheryl Glenwinkel said while crossing her fingers,   "just kind of hope and pray that somebody just moves.  Really just have a little patience.  They really do move it is an ebb and flow.  Just sit there for a few seconds and let people go by and  and you will see."

Even before covid when talking before  to business owners  on Coast Village Road  said  there already was a shortage of parking.

The parklets have an economic value with more customers and also more work for restaurant servers, but that also adds to the challenges.

"It essentially doubles the size of our restaurant and that is probably an extra three shifts per night and that's increased staffing for sure, " said Copus.

To make the changes and deconstruct the eating areas, will be costly,  and many business owners are urging the city to have a long range plan that can help them with their planning.

Copus said they will comply with the city's decision and make the outside dining as appealing as possibly, even though it will be smaller.

One customer said a little walking from site to site should actually be good for business, when there isn't front door parking. "It is attracting people to walk in front of their store and maybe find something they like.  I find it great," said Haynie.

Many business owners remain optimistic about more changes to encourage business in the area. "There's a lot to come in the future for Coast Village road that's for sure.  The parklets have been a great taste of how the street can be improved."

(More details, video, and photos will be added here later today)

Article Topic Follows: Money and Business
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.


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