Those temporary outdoor dining areas born during the pandemic could stick around a lot longer at your favorite restaurant.
The city of San Diego has proposed a program called Spaces As Places that would allow restaurants to make temporary dining areas permanent in exchange for a fee that would be used to improve public sidewalks and spaces.
“We’re OK with the fee if the city really uses it to improve the sidewalks, make it safer for pedestrians,” said Steve Billings, co-owner of The Original 40 Brewing Company in North Park.
Billings said he spent roughly $10,000 building an outdoor dining area along University Avenue.
“It’s been a great boost to our revenue,” Billings said. “It would definitely be worth it if we’re able to keep it for longer than a year or two.”
The outdoor dining areas were allowed during the pandemic to help restaurants to stay in business by serving customers on-site. Owners can continue using those areas under the city’s Temporary Outdoor Business Ordinance, which expires July 13, 2022.
If the Spaces As Places proposal passes this fall, restaurant owners can apply to continue their outdoor dining, pay a fee that supports the infrastructure improvements and comply with certain safety regulations.
The city of San Diego has created a survey to gather more information from residents. The city council could approve the proposal as early as this fall.