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Permanent Parklet Program

The Economic Development department is working to develop a permanent parklet program that will allow businesses to transition their temporary parklets into permanent, utilize a pre-approved design model, or design their own new parklet under the parklet program design guidelines and requirements.

Please find the most recent updates below:

Parklet Program Update 9/15/22:

Over the Summer, Economic Development (ED) has been working toward completion of the Permanent Parklet Program Ordinance, application and permit process, fees, and transition timeline. The following is a summary of the progress and next steps to formally create the program and begin the transition from temporary permits to permanent approvals:

In May, staff conducted an outreach meeting with businesses to provide an update on the design guidelines and pre-approved designs. We conducted a follow-up survey after the meeting and received 66 responses from businesses and the community which provided valuable feedback to help finalize the ordinance and preapproved designs. With those responses ED staff worked with the Public Works, Planning & Community Development, Fire, and Police Departments to seek clarification on what can be allowed in the permanent parklet design guidelines. From our presentation on the proposed development standards and design guidelines, we heard from businesses about concerns regarding required setbacks on the ends of parking spaces, use of electric lighting, and heaters and concerns about weatherizing. We reviewed these items with the appropriate departments and will provide additional information about our determinations on this feedback in the frequently asked question section below.

Click here to view the draft parklet design guidelines and operational requirements.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1. When will businesses be able to apply for a permanent parklet permit and what is the permit process?

The parklet ordinance must be approved by City Council before applications can be accepted for the permanent program. The following is the anticipated timeline for ordinance approval and applications to begin:

9/22/22: Downtown Commission Presentation & Request for Recommendation to Council to approve the ordinance

10/19/22: Transportation & Public Works Commission Presentation & Request for Recommendation to Council to approve the ordinance

10/25/22: City Council Presentation and First Reading of Parklet Ordinance for adoption

11/15/22: City Council Second Reading of Parklet Ordinance for final adoption if approved 10/25

The ordinance goes into effect 30 days after final adoption and staff anticipated opening the application period during the 30 day waiting period. Businesses with temporary parklets will need to apply before the proposed extended expiration of the program on March 31, 2023 to continue to operate their temporary parklet while they work toward transitioning to the permanent program.

The permitting process will be a staff level review through the Economic Development Department with review by the Public Works and Fire Department. Businesses will submit an application with the following information:

  • Applicant contact information

  • Property owner authorization to apply

  • Neighbor letter of authorization if parklet encroaches on neighboring frontage

  • Parklet operational information (hours of operation and agreement with operating requirements)

  • Parklet Construction details (# of spaces, type of spaces, design options, site plan, and furnishings)

  • Alcohol service authorization

  • Insurance requirements

2. Why is the City only considering extending the temporary permits to March 31, 2023?

We recognize that it will take time for businesses to review the requirements, prepare their plans, and submit their applications. Our goal is that businesses will be able to submit their applications for permanent parklets by the end of March and as long as the City receives an application by the deadline and the business is making meaningful progress to start the transition to permanent there are no penalties or removal requirements for their temporary parklets.

3. Do I still need to apply for a permit if I have already built a parklet and I want to keep it?

All parklets constructed under the temporary outdoor expansion program will need to be permitted under the permanent program. Businesses will be required to submit an application to receive permanent approval for their parklet to ensure it meets all of the requirements of the new ordinance. The City will provide a diagnostic report of existing parklets if businesses would like to transition what they have built under the temporary program. Staff will visit and assess your existing outdoor dining setup to determine what adjustments are required for you to come into compliance under the new program and will provide a written report to guide your application for permanent approval.

4. Why would I be required to make changes to my temporary parklet I built?

The temporary parklets have been regulated with the expectation that they would not be permanent structures which resulted in some temporary exceptions from building, fire, and public works regulations. The permanent program will stay consistent with many of the requirements from the temporary program but provides some changes to strengthen the accessibility and safety of the parklets that are allowed as a long-term permitted use.

In allowing parklets on a more permanent basis, the ordinance and design guidelines require that these standards be in place and some examples of these changes include requirements for the number of parking spaces to be used, setbacks within the parking spaces, removal of temporary membrane structures (tents and canopies), vector control measures, and installation of permanent safety barriers rather than the water filled barriers provided by the City.

5. Will I be able to construct a roof or canopy over my parklet?

The City will not allow any fixed or hard roofs on permanent parklets and will not allow the continued use of tents and canopies under the new ordinance. The use of tents and canopies has been a very relaxed measure to allow for all weather dining stemming from the indoor dining restrictions and capacity limits. Under the permanent program these will not be allowed due to fire safety requirements and the need to operate these spaces as true permanent outdoor dining spaces. The construction of hard roofs made of wood, metal, or plastic sheeting is also not allowed due to the impact to visibility of neighboring businesses, traffic signs, and the significant engineering review required to safely attach these roofs to the parklet platform.

The City will approve the use of umbrellas and shade sails to provide sun and light rain protection as well as properly placed and approved heaters for warmth. Businesses may also install transparent wind barriers above the perimeter walls to help reduce wind impacts in the parklet area but the top of the parklet must remain open except for umbrellas and shade sails.

6. Can businesses use electric lighting and heaters in parklets without additional permitting?

Businesses requested the ability to easily implement electric lighting and heaters in the parklets to provide consistent lighting and more efficient heating. Electric Heaters would also reduce the risk of propane canister theft that many have experienced. The City agrees electric lighting and heating would be more efficient and may be approved with additional review under the State building and electric codes. If desired, the business owner will need to obtain a building permit for the work to connect to the building’s power, bring the power cord over the sidewalk and into the parklet. Because the power is coming from a building into the public right of way and crossing over pedestrian pathways it requires an extra level of review that triggers a building permit.

We also reviewed the potential to use portable battery-operated generators to power the electric lighting and heating but these are temporary devices not approved for long term permanent use under the Fire code. Solar lighting and propane heaters are recommended and approved with proper placement.

7. Am I required to use one of the City’s pre-approved designs for my parklet or can I construct my own custom design?

No, businesses have the following three design options for construction of their parklets:

1. Modify an existing temporary parklet to meet the permanent guidelines

2. Build a custom parklet design meeting the permanent guidelines

3. Use one of the City’s pre-approved designs

The City prepared pre-approved options based on early feedback from businesses that this would be a helpful resource for them. The benefit of the City’s designs is that the design work and construction drawings have already been completed which could save time and money. The business would be able to take the pre-approved plans and place them in a site plan specific to their location. All custom designs will need to have plans drafted by a licensed design professional showing a site plan and construction drawings of how the parklet will be installed.

8. Is the City requiring businesses to only use certain colors and materials for parklets?

No, businesses are free to use any colors they choose and the only limitation on materials is that they must be durable and easy to clean and maintain. The overwhelming feedback from our survey was that businesses and the community did not want to see limitations on the customization of the parklet aesthetics and we respect that desire. Our review will be focused on public safety and durability of the parklets, not colors and design aesthetics.

9. Why is the City requiring 4 foot setbacks on the parklet ends? I have had use of the full parking space during the temporary program without issue.

We have not required setbacks due to the temporary nature of the current program but with the construction of the permanent parklets these will be fixed platforms and Public Works traffic engineering has analyzed the maneuvering space required for cars to safely enter and exit parking spaces around parklets and determined that the 4-foot requirement must remain. Most other cities have a similar requirement of 3- to 4-feet buffer at the end of parking spaces to provide this protection for both the cars and the parklet structure itself. We understand this does reduce the square footage available for seating, but it must be in place for parklets located between parking spaces.

10. How does this process compare to pre-pandemic parklet program?

We have made several changes from the pre-pandemic parklet program to expand access to parklets, reduce the permit review process, and expand and more clearly define the design guidelines for businesses.

Prior to 2020, parklets were only allowed on the side streets in downtown. Under the new program, we are expanding this program to be available citywide on streets 25 mph or less. Regarding the permitting process, the pre-pandemic permitting process went through the Planning & Community Development Department and required a public hearing process which typically takes a minimum of 3 months. Below is chart comparing the process and cost associated with the prior program and the proposed new program:

Permits & Fees

Pre-Pandemic Parklet Program

Citywide Permanent Parklet Program

Permits/Fees/Process

Design Permit - $1,811

Temporary Encroachment Permit

Parklet Permit (Staff Review) – no fee for temporary program ($500 after transition)

Temporary Encroachment Permit

Annual Fees

Parking revenue replacement - $1,250 per space

$2,500 for two spaces

Parking Deficiency Fee - $425/space annually

$850 for 2 spaces

License fee - $0.49/SF monthly - $2,069.76 for two spaces

Total For Two Spaces: $5,419.76

Metered Spaces:

Parking Meter Revenue Replacement: $2,000/space

Total for 2 spaces: $4,000

Unmetered spaces:

License fee - $0.49/SF monthly - $2,069.76 for 352 SF (equivalent of two spaces)

11. Is the City providing any financial assistance to help businesses pay for their permanent parklets?

Yes, the City is discussing potential waivers of fees for the initial roll out of the program and will be seeking direction from City Council on this at the October 25 City Council meeting.

We are also developing a partially forgivable loan that would provide up to $50,000 with $25,000 forgiven over five years. The interest rate is currently estimated to be set at 3.75%. Due to the cost of the parklets typically exceeding $15,000, State prevailing wage requirements will need to be followed which can increase the cost of some labor charges.

May 4, 2022 Business Outreach Meeting

Economic Development provided an update on the progress to develop the draft parklet design guidelines and pre-approved design models. A presentation was shared at a public outreach meeting on May 4th and the community is invited to provide their feedback and comments through a follow up survey.

Below is a video of the presentation (re-recorded due to an error in recording live) and a second video of the comment portion of the meeting. We have also prepared a frequently asked question section to highlight the feedback we received in the meeting and clarify some of the information provided. A survey was open to business owners and the general community and received 66 responses.

Click here to view the presentation as a PDF document.

A complete document with the draft design guidelines will be available for additional comments following this initial survey and incorporation of the feedback received.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I have to start from scratch to get a permanent parklet approved?

No, the City is providing three options for businesses to pursue for the permanent program:

1. Modify your existing temporary parklet to meet the permanent requirements. (Requirements still under development)

2. Use the City's pre-approved parklet design models (still under development)

3. Develop a custom design meeting the permanent requirements.

Will the City be providing financial support to the businesses to make the transition to a permanent parklet?

Yes, the City is requesting funding through the City's budget process to provide forgivable loans to businesses to help finance the cost of permanent parklets. The final forgivable loan amount and structure depends on the budget approved by the City Council and the number of businesses pursuing the parklet program.

Why is the City pursuing a pre-approved design from a pre-fabrication company?

We are focused on three major criteria in developing the pre-approved designs: cost to purchase and install the parklets, availability of supplies and services, and use of easy to maintain and durable materials.

The company we are considering using for the pre-approved options is called Modstreet and their parklets can be installed in just a few hours with their deck and barrier system. We would utilize local concrete contractors to pour the platform base. There can also be economies of scale to further reduce costs with multiple businesses pursuing the pre-approved designs to enable bulk orders and reduced shipping fees.

The pre-approved design is not finalized yet and we will continue to research options to reduce the cost of the materials and installation.

Want to learn more:

For additional questions about the program please contact Rebecca Unitt, Economic Development Manager.