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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Hermosa Beach reduces the size of the dining deck to replenish parking space

The Hermosa Beach City Council at its June 14 meeting approved reducing the size of some dining decks, helping the restaurant survive more than two years of the pandemic.

In previous meetings, council members expressed concern that some dining decks were being under-utilised and taking away parking space from other businesses that have also been affected by the COVID-19 restrictions.

According to environmental program manager Doug Cross, the three restaurants — Roc Sushi, Rockefeller and Steak & Whiskey, all on Pier Avenue — will be required to reduce the size of their on-street dining decks within 45 days.

The lack of those dining decks would add five parking spaces.

“Currently, a deck can be as big as it wants, if it has either frontage or permission from neighboring businesses,” Cross said at Tuesday’s meeting.

The council’s decision means that a restaurant can make maximum use of either the two street parallel parking spaces or the three head-in parking spaces on the Pier and Hermosa Avenues for the street dining deck.

But those rules won’t apply if a restaurant has substantial store frontage and doesn’t require permission from the property next door. Then that restaurant can use three parallel parking spaces or four head-in parking spaces.

“In many other businesses in this sector, there is a feeling among some of the other stakeholders that there is a disparity with this, there is too much room in these businesses,” Kraus said.

At a meeting in May, the city council voted to extend its temporary outdoor dining program to the end of the year in order to develop a permanent program. The council also approved program improvements focusing on the maintenance and aesthetics of the dining deck.

When the city council approved the outdoor dining program more than two years ago, it was an effort to aid struggling businesses hit by the pandemic. Since then, more than 60 businesses have taken advantage of the program that allows them to encroach on various public jurisdictions, including sidewalks and parking lots.

In January, the city approved an expansion of $1.50 per square foot per month for outdoor dining decks and charging for an additional 60 outdoor decks that were granted temporary permits at the start of the pandemic. Those location-based fees ranged from $1 to $5 per square foot per month before the pandemic.

Pier Plaza operations that previously had outdoor dining facilities but were expanded during the pandemic will pay $1.50 per square foot, along with a restoration fee at the original location.

The fees would generate approximately $700,000 annually.

The future of the Dining Deck at Pier Plaza was also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

Cross said some Pier Plaza businesses were able to expand the outdoor dining areas they had previously had since the pandemic began. The Pier Plaza business was granted permission by the city to have a 12-foot extended outdoor dining deck.

Council member Justin Massey said the temporary dining deck on Pier Plaza has helped businesses survive the pandemic, but at the same time expanded the restaurant’s seating capacity.

“It takes business away from the rest of the city, and it exacerbates the public safety problems that we have because of the size of the establishments,” Macy’s said Tuesday.

World Nation News Desk
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