Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Injustice

San Diego Parklets Must Now Be In Compliance, Potential Fees Loom

Parklet outside of Nonna in Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego, CA on Jul...

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Above: Parklet outside of Nonna in Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego, CA on July 13, 2021.

Restaurants already had an extension to bring their parklets up to code. Now, the city started going out to restaurants to make sure their structures were in compliance.

Leslie Sennett is Code Enforcement Deputy Director for the city of San Diego and says her team started visiting restaurants around 7:30 a.m. Monday.

Listen to this story by Melissa Mae.

“The most important reason is for safety,” Sennett said. “So, we want to be able to have those emergency vehicles pull up to a site. We want them to be able to access beyond those into a building.”

RELATED: San Diego Restaurants Get A Reprieve For Parklets

Sennett says the parklets helped restaurants be in compliance with COVID-19 protocols during the pandemic, but many parklets are not up to code.

“We needed to reach out to the businesses and just make sure that we’re all on the same page: What are the regulations? What’s allowed? How can they operate safely and still provide a very nice space for their customers?” Sennett said. “But also make sure that all requirements, building requirements, fire requirements are being met.”

Sennett’s staff was tasked with going out to restaurants who do not currently have a Temporary Outdoor Business Operations Permit, to help them get one.

“Letting them know what the permit process is, how they can get one and if they have elements of their outdoor business that wouldn’t be permitted, letting them know what they need to remove and how they could come into compliance,” Sennett said.

RELATED: Compliance Checks For Outdoor Business Operations In San Diego Set For August 2

Through a grant, a restaurant can get a permit for free.

The biggest modification restaurants will have to make starts at the top.

“They can’t have a permanent roof structure. They need to be using umbrellas,” Sennett said.

Also, walls cannot be over 45 inches and a parklet cannot occupy any red curb space.

The Little Italy Association is asking Governor Gavin Newsom for some help with parklets.

Marco Li Mandri is the association’s chief executive administrator and said they wrote a petition to the Governor.

“Businesses need to catch up from lost revenues from 2020, particularly the restaurant industry,” Li Mandri said.

He says they’ve asked the governor to let all California restaurants keep permanent roofs on their parklets.

“We said the Delta variant is now starting to spread, if people have the option to move indoors and eat or outdoors and eat, they’re going to choose outdoors for obvious reasons, according to the CDC,” Li Mandri said.

Newsom’s staff responded that this is a local enforcement issue.

“Which makes zero sense whatsoever, this is a national, international pandemic, the rules should be the same for every city,” Li Mandri noted.

The Code Enforcement Division will not charge the restaurant any citation fees if it brings its parklet into compliance within 30 days of the citation. But if a restaurant does not modify their parklet within 30 days, an administrative hearing would be scheduled and a daily fine of $100 dollars per violation would be imposed.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Melissa Mae

Melissa Mae
Freelance Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a freelance reporter, I cover a wide variety of stories. One day I may cover the current COVID-19 situation and the next day my story may be about a San Diego landmark. With a background in sports broadcasting, any time I get to cover a sports story is an added bonus! I love covering stories about the place I am lucky enough to call home, San Diego.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.