Pacific Grove council could remove parklets in favor of expanded sidewalk seating project – Monterey Herald

PACIFIC GROVE — The Pacific Grove City Council will discuss a project to create a curb extension and expand sidewalk dining during Wednesday’s council meeting, which in turn will bring back up the discussion of parklets, or outdoor seating at restaurants created by converting parking spaces.

Parklet seating at restaurants became popular following pandemic restrictions in 2020. In June 2020, the council ratified emergency measures to streamline the process of outdoor seating. In 2021 and 2022 the council adopted an ordinance with a one-year sunset provision to allow the temporary parklets to continue. Then in 2023 the council adopted an ordinance to authorize parklets on an annual temporary basis, which could be revisited by a subcommittee including councilmembers Luke Coletti and Debby Beck.

Now, the subcommittee is proposing creating space for permanent sidewalk dining areas that will replace the current parklets. The Wednesday meeting will allow the council  to approve the last steps in the project’s design, safety standards and compliance measures, before bringing back a final package for approval in the future.

The council has allocated $50,000 for the design and engineering of the sidewalk extension, and as of the agenda’s posting $13,329 has been expended. Two options for the expansion project will be presented to the council, the first and recommended will cost $251,250 and the alternative will be $158,100. This includes estimates for the sidewalk extension, drainage and intersection construction.

The project will also have to follow the state’s new “Daylighting” law, that prohibits cars and trucks from stopping, standing or parking within 20 feet of the approach side of crosswalks.

“By definition, parklets occupy parking spaces. Therefore, any parklet within this 20-foot area would have to be removed. This includes the Victorian Corner parklet,” the Feb. 7 agenda reads.

The city staff is also taking into account feedback from stakeholders in the subcommittee. According to the agenda there is a majority support to move forward with the expanded sidewalk dining, and a general agreement that construction should start no later than June.

Owners of Wild Fish, Liz Jacobs and Kelvin Jacobs, have spoken out against the project, claiming it will take away their existing parklet with no way to rebuild. They also note the timing of the project would occur during the summer when business is busy, and delays on the project could lead into July and August.

“This is unfair because we have completely changed not just our business model, our interior design, but also our customer base. We cannot keep pivoting on the political whims of who happens to be on the council at any given time,” the Jacobs wrote in an email.

The regular meeting of the Pacific Grove City Council will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Council Chamber, City Hall, 300 Forest Ave. Participants can also join the meeting via the Zoom video platform at https://www.cityofpacificgrove.org/Zoom_CC

 

 

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