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Santa Monica Extends Use of Outdoor Commercial Spaces

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

August 19, 2020 -- Santa Monica businesses can furnish their outdoor spaces with added features -- including lighting, canopies, flooring and heaters -- after the City extended the use of outdoor commercial spaces Wednesday.

The supplement to the original order -- issued in June and set to expire September 7 -- allows shops and restaurants to use the public and private spaces in on-street parking areas, loading spaces and adjacent sidewalks for dining, retail sales and services.

It also "authorizes additional uses of outdoor space and provides greater clarity to local businesses around furnishings and materials," City officials said.

The supplemental order comes as local businesses "expand to safely bring Santa Monica’s vibrant local business offerings to the community" during the ongoing coronavirus emergency, City officials said.

The revised supplement defines approved outdoor furnishings to include "movable tables, chairs, electric cordless lighting, and floor coverings," as well as secured umbrellas or canopies.

It also allows tables and chairs to be left outside businesses after hours, as long as they are "secured against the building" and don't block sidewalk access.

In addition, it allows the use of propane heaters with a permit and sets standards for decks in both parklets and private property used for outdoor business.

After September 7, businesses must enter into new agreements with the City "to continue to use the public right-of-way and obtain a permit to continue to use their private outdoor space," officials said.

After November 1, the City can assess a monthly fee for the use of space in the public right-of-way, after giving businesses a 30-day notice.

Restaurants that violate the provisions of the order face fines of $500 for the first violation and up to $1,000 for subsequent violations.

The supplemental order will remain in place through the duration of LA County’s Safer at Home Order, with an additional 30 days, "so long as businesses either enter into an encroachment agreement with or obtain a permit from the City," officials said.

The economic recovery efforts are being led by the Santa Monica Economic Recovery Task Force in partnership with Santa Monica’s business improvement districts and community partners, City officials said.

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