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San Diego Restaurants Get A Reprieve For Parklets

Parklet outside of Nonna in Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego, Calif. on July 13, 2021.
Nicholas McVicker
Parklet outside of Nonna in Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego, Calif. on July 13, 2021.

People are enjoying the summer after the pandemic with bonus seating in parklets that many San Diego restaurants put up during restrictions.

Local restaurants were expecting an end today to that temporary outdoor seating. The city was supposed to start fining those who did not comply with bringing their space up to code. Business owners who did not comply could have faced up to a $10,000 fine.

San Diego Restaurants Get A Reprieve For Parklets
Listen to this story by Melissa Mae

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Temporary Outdoor Business Operation (TOBO) permits allowed restaurants to build parklets outside restaurants to accommodate outdoor seating.

Mayor Todd Gloria's office announced last night that the city was extending its deadline to August 2, 2021 for restaurants to restructure their parklets to be in compliance with State law.

San Diego Restaurants Get A Reprieve For Parklets

San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood took full advantage of the concept and built some really nice outdoor dining spaces.

“Having outdoor seating helps tremendously, it’s literally a billboard on the sidewalk,” said Vince Busalacchi, the general manager at Nonna in Little Italy. “We have our food out and people walk by and say, ‘Oh that looks great,' and they want to come in.”

Busalacchi said their parklet cost about $10,000 to build.


“We’re lucky enough that we got this in the first place, so we kind of have to work with the city and the state to see if that means cutting roofs off and getting in compliance, and that’s okay for a while, we’ll do what we have to do,” Busalacchi said.

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With the new extension, restaurants have a little extra time to modify their parklets to fit within federal, state and local fire codes. This includes removing permanent rooftops and moving the portion of their parklets that block red curbs, among other requirements.

Busalacchi noted, “We’re on city property, so there’s that gray area where, who’s liable, who’s not liable, but all in all, we’re thankful that the city allowed us to use it in the first place.”

The restaurant industry is still trying to recover from the pandemic.

“The restaurant industry, we kind of roll with the punches. We’ve been through a lot this last year, so this is just another bump in the road that we just have to handle and figure out which way to go with it,” Busalacchi said.

The City of San Diego is working with business groups to help them bring their parklets up to code. The city says communication has already begun about the extension and the future of parklets in San Diego.