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Planning Commission to Consider Zoning Code Amendments on Restaurants and Outdoor Dining

Published on Monday, April 22, 2024 | 4:00 am

The Planning Commission will consider recommending amendments to the zoning code that would codify pandemic era measures for restaurants.

The amendments would allow walk-up windows by right, create an Administrative Conditional Use Permit process for the on-site sale of alcohol; and allow outdoor dining on private property (parking lots and plazas.)

The amendments would be used to streamline the review process for new development projects.

During the pandemic, the City implemented several temporary measures to assist local restaurants and the local economy.

Walk up windows, the Administrative Conditional Use Permit and outdoor dining were so successful they were added to the City’s zoning code.

Prior to the pandemic it required Conditional Use Permits for a walk up window and alcohol sales, the process for alcohol sales took four to six months.

Parking restrictions were placed on outdoor dining.

Staff is recommending outdoor dining be continued on private property at new and existing restaurants without the need to provide or replace parking.

The amendments would allow outdoor dining in parking areas up to 50 percent of the restaurant’s existing indoor dining area, including any bar area. Square footage above 50% would require new or replacement on-site or off-site parking.

Outdoor dining allowed local restaurants to continue operating and even flourishing in some cases during the pandemic.

Since June 2020 Pasadena has issued nearly 50 outdoor dining permits, 29 of which were issued for parking lot dining, as opposed to areas like plazas or courtyards.

Last year the Planning Department said the proposed changes are based on the successful temporary provisions during the pandemic, which allowed for flexibility while ensuring safety and compliance with regulations. The changes aim to create a more seamless and efficient process for restaurants, aligning with recent Specific Plans for different districts in the city, the Department said.

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