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Paso Robles restaurants facing deadline to request parklet extension

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Posted at 5:50 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 22:54:44-04

The deadline is looming for Downtown Paso Robles businesses to decide if parklets should stay a little bit longer or go.

The whole parklet concept in Paso Robles was adopted during the pandemic.

Now businesses have two weeks to decide if they want to extend their parklet permits for another 90 days or have their parklets removed on November 1.

The makeshift outdoor seating areas found all around the core of Paso Robles have served as a lifeline for local restaurants struggling during COVID-19 shutdowns, restrictions and uncertainty.

"Well, for us this was a lifesaver you know, for all the restaurants, and we did appreciate the fact that the town allowed us to be able to take those parking spots," said Andre Averseng, Chef/Owner of Paso Terra Seafood Restaurant.

The police department says 60 parking spots are being utilized for parklets all over the downtown.

Paso Terra is just one of the 23 businesses that is currently using the dining alfresco option on city streets.

"Otherwise we could have been closed a long time ago," Averseng said.

The city says due to the recent Delta variant surge, it's giving businesses the option to extend the life of their parklets until January 31 of next year.

Some restaurant-goers we talked with say the parklets should remain beyond that timeline because they not only benefit businesses but they give the downtown a European flare.

"I think it's a wonderful idea," said Janet Vonfreymann of Nipomo. "I wish they would do it everywhere and I hope they keep it."

Critics have said the parklets are eyesores and eat up too much parking.

Others say if some parklets end up staying for good, creating more visually appealing structures would be ideal for the downtown.

"I think that if we could reduce the footprint of the parklets where they're needed and increase the aesthetically, positively-looking integration of them, if they're needed to extend, that would be the best bet," said Mary Uebersax, downtown retail shop owner.

Businesses have until October 18 to file a request to extend their parklet permit. If not, it'll be removed on November 1.