Parklets Slated to Change on Coast Village Road

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   September 8, 2022

After much community debate, including in the pages of Montecito Journal, City Administrator Rebecca Bjork sent a letter to stakeholders late Wednesday discussing the fate of the parklets on Coast Village Road. 

As of October 28, 2022, the City is requiring new rules for parklets, mainly, that they will be limited to a maximum of two adjacent parking spaces in front of a business, and that they will be required to adhere to all other requirements of the City’s Economic Recovery Extension and Transition Ordinance (ERETO), including Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. For now, the parklets will be allowed to stay through December 31, 2023, but Bjork reports the City will revisit the issue in early 2023 to assess the impacts of the new rules. The City also intends on actively pursuing additional code compliance resources to assist in addressing parking violations along Coast Village Road; parking enforcement officers have been noticeably absent along the road for the last two years.

The move to reduce the size of the parklets comes after multiple public outreach meetings in August, as well as an anonymous online survey. “Parking along Coast Village Road has long been at a premium. The addition of parklets and the resultant loss of public parking spaces due to the allowance of parklets, has created inequities amongst various businesses on Coast Village Road,” Bjorn writes in the letter. She reports that eight restaurants are currently utilizing the parklets, occupying about 28 of the 131 parking spaces on Coast Village Road. The parklets, which range in size from three parking spaces to seven parking spaces, have added approximately 253 additional dining seats to Coast Village. “Limiting the maximum size of parklets will return much-needed parking spaces back to the public while allowing restaurants to continue to offer outdoor dining,” she adds. 

Downtown Manager Brian Bosse, who hosted the community meeting in August at Montecito Inn, told us Wednesday that members of the community are staunchly split on the issue of the parklets, with many retailers upset over the loss of parking while restaurant owners support the continuation of offering outdoor dining. Customers of the business district are also split, with some saying outdoor dining is more important than parking, and some saying the opposite. Bosse said the allowance for businesses to expand temporarily outdoors was a critical response to keep those businesses operational during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the extension to continue to allow businesses to operate expanded outdoor facilities was to help ensure their continued success. More than 200 businesses in Santa Barbara and Montecito have benefited from expanding the business areas outdoors. 

The October 28th deadline precedes the beginning of the scheduled construction for the Olive Mill Roundabout, which begins in November. 


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