Santa Cruz businesses taking advantage of the move outdoors spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic got good news last month, as the city council approved a trio of extensions that will allow them to continue their temporary outdoor operations for at least another year.
According to city officials, the ultimate goal is to convert most of those temporary permits that were set to expire next month to permanent operations before the extensions approved by the city council on Oct. 25 run out.
Businesses with outdoor operations in the public right-of-way will be able to continue through Oct. 31, 2023, while those on private property can continue to operate outdoors through March 31, 2024. In addition, the city council also extended the partial closure of Cathcart Street between Pacific and Cedar streets through March 2023.
The elected leaders approved the moves unanimously.
The city council also got its first look at the city’s proposed permanent parklet program, which outlines various guidelines, permit requirements and fees and operating standards for the outdoor seating areas that sprung up throughout the city over the last two years.
Those rules were supposed to come back to the council for approval on Nov. 15, but after more than a dozen people voiced concerns about the proposed fees—including an annual $2,000 permit fee for the use of a metered parking space—during public comment, the council pushed the decision to no later than February 2023.
The city council also directed staff to form a subcommittee with local business owners to possibly make alterations to the proposed permanent ordinance.
To date, there are a total of 35 active temporary parklets: 26 in downtown, eight in the beach area and wharf, and one on the Westside.