by Instagram / @EatPuesto

The city of San Diego wants to expedite coastal permit process for its outdoor and gathering program, Spaces as Places. 

Reports this week say that San Diego has continued to make a push to ask the California Coastal Commission to grant a permit for the permanent coastal outdoors program. 

This push by the city comes with the intention of striking before the expiration date on the current temporary coastal permits that is set for July 13 of this summer. 

This comes months after City Council gave the green-light to the program, which aims to allow permanent outdoor restaurant dining in the public right of way. 

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria says that the ride of the COVID-19 pandemic has been linked to the love and appreciation San Diegans now have for outdoor dining and gatherings. 

“San Diegans have made clear how much they love the outdoor dining and spaces that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic, and I have been committed to finding a way for them to stay,” Gloria said. “This program will create an avenue for temporary outdoor structures constructed in response to the pandemic to become permanent installations, ensuring long-term options that are safe, equitable and accessible for everyone.”

The project manager of the program, Sameera Rao, says that Spaces as Places is created for a time such as this, where restaurants can continue to function at full capacity at an outdoors environment just as much as indoors.

“Spaces as Places is proposed for the post-pandemic world, when restaurants can operate at full capacity indoors and outdoor dining would represent an expansion of restaurant seating capacity and … enhance the overall public experience,” stated project manager Sameera Rao.

The project will come at a cost, however, though an official price tag per month has not yet been finalized by city officials. Estimate predictions suggest that it would go for about $20 per square feet, or $300 for a whole parking space. 

“A reduced fee will be offered for businesses that keep 25 percent of their outdoor spaces open to the public during operating hours and completely open to the public during non-operating hours,” Rao stated. “For outdoor dining spaces that are open to the public at all times, there would be no fee.” Rao added. 

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