California Regulators Require Parking Replacement for Outdoor Dining Spaces

The city of San Diego’s Spaces as Places outdoor dining program includes a critical parking requirement mandated by the California Coastal Commission.

1 minute read

August 28, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


The tops of umbrellas for outdoor dining spaces are visible with large buildings in the background on a sunny day in the city of San Diego.

Kirk / Adobe Stock

The California Coastal Commission (CCC), a state oversight board responsible for protecting public access to the coast, has the power to decide the details of local outdoor dining programs—a power recently on display in San Diego when the CCC forced the city to replace parking spaces devoted to outdoor dining.

“The California Coastal Commission has approved the city of San Diego’s ‘Spaces as Places’ regulations requiring some businesses in the coastal zone to replace public parking occupied by outdoor dining,” reports Elizabeth Frausto.

San Diego made its outdoor dining program permanent in October 2021, as reported at the time by Lori Weisberg, but CCC “had concerns about the elimination of parking spots in a narrow strip of San Diego’s coastline known as the ‘beach impact area,’” according to Frausto.

“A loss of parking can mean a loss of public beach access, and the commission asked the City Council to amend the program to require restaurants to replace any public parking they occupy with an equivalent number of spaces elsewhere,” adds Frauso.

The source article, linked below, provides details of which locations are seeking permits under the nascent program.

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