Chula Vista

Chula Vista wants pandemic-era outdoor dining to go; restaurants want another round

The city notified the restaurant owners that Labor Day is the deadline for the patios

NBC Universal, Inc.

They are some of the last holdovers from the pandemic. The streetside patios created to eat and drink outdoors when indoors wasn’t an option. Now, some businesses in Chula Vista find it hard to let them go.

“It's really become not only a part of our business, but a way of life on Third Avenue,” said Gonzalo Quintero, co-owner of the Vogue Tavern. “What better place to be than outside having a beer and some food?”

Quintero said they spent about $15,000 on their patio deck, which sits on top of three parking spots along Third Avenue. He said it’s been part of the restaurant for most of its five years of existence. Seven streetside patios remain along Third.

“We're all about food, folks and fun, and we're all about having a community space,” said Quintero. “And that's all going to go away.”

The city of Chula Vista notified the business owners their permits will expire at the end of the summer.

“They were originally made temporarily,” Chula Vista mayor John McCann told NBC 7. “It's on public land that they're receiving for free, and they're taking up parking spaces.”

“I'm not frustrated, I'm not mad — I'm disappointed,” said Quintero, who is also president of the Downtown Chula Vista Business Association, with a sigh

A spokeswoman for Chula Vista sent NBC 7 a statement, which reads, in part:

“Today, the parklets are negatively impacting more businesses than they are helping because not all can benefit from the temporary permits. With the parklets on public land, the city must prioritize equitable access.”

The statement goes on to say the final deadline for the patios is Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 2 this year.

Quintero said he wants to have a discussion with city leaders. He said they will lose money and possibly jobs if the patios go.

“All we wanted was a dialog before that happened, but they're just saying the decks are going away," Quintero said. "That's the end of it. Losing that capacity is going to have a greater impact on their bottom line ... sales tax revenue that cleans the streets, sales tax revenue that paves the streets, police, firefighters.”

McCann said he’s willing to listen.

“We want our businesses to be successful,” the mayor said.

Quintero said they started an on-line petition to support the patios. Several owners also made a plea Tuesday night during the public comment session of the Chula Vista City Council meeting.

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