San Francisco makes parklet program permanent

The parklets that have sprung up all over San Francisco to accommodate outdoor dining and shopping during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic are here to stay.

Supervisors voted Tuesday in favor of a revised version of the Shared Spaces Ordinance that allows businesses to operate outdoors at all times in spaces built on sidewalks and parking lots.

The legislation, co-sponsored by supervisors Ahsha Safaí, Rafael Mandelman, Catherine Stefani and Matt Haney, regulates the program, setting everything from a permit fee to an application and permit process.

Under the ordinance, the charges will not be introduced for two years. After that period, chain stores will have to pay a fee of up to $ 3,000 per year for a single parking spot, while small businesses can apply for a fee waiver, according to KTVU.

“Shared Spaces has brought new life and excitement to our neighborhoods during an incredibly difficult time. It has been wonderful to see friends and families benefiting from their community and supporting their local businesses, ”the Mayor of London Breed said in a statement. “By taking the necessary steps to make shared spaces permanent, we are offering another lifeline for local businesses to thrive and creating a clear path to rebuilding our economy as San Francisco recovers from COVID-19.”

Supervisors have spoken at length about concerns about vandalism and illegal activity that can occur in parklets at night, and in response, Safaí introduced an amendment to the ordinance allowing businesses to close parklets from midnight to 7 a.m. in the morning, according to KTVU. Supervisors approved the amendment.

“We are delighted that the Shared Spaces Legislation, with some key changes submitted by Supervisor Safaí that make this program work for restaurants, their staff and our community, was passed today by the Board of Supervisors. Said Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and owner of Rose’s Cafe. “We would like to thank Mayor Breed for his unwavering leadership in this revolutionary policy, the members of the Supervisory Board who supported him, the municipal services and their staff for all the hard work to make this happen, as well as the residents. and the advocates who have worked to share their views. “

Sharky Laguana, chairman of the San Francisco Small Business Commission, called the decision to keep the parklets the most significant change in San Francisco’s land use since the 1906 earthquake. “I am extremely happy.” , wrote Laguana on Twitter. “We have a permanent program of shared spaces. Outdoor dining is here to stay. “

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