Big changes are coming to downtown Pismo Beach in the coming days, and some businesses are not happy about it.
Restaurants, cafés and bars have until October 3rd to take down their outdoor dining areas.
The city is exploring options to bring them back at some point.
“At the moment, we still have to take everything down by October 3rd which is also on a weekend so that’s not very conducive to making money and all of that at the same time,” said Steven Norwood, owner of The Boardroom.
Businesses with parklets are fighting to hold onto their outdoor dining areas which kept them afloat during the pandemic.
“We have to take everything down and rebuild it. It costs money,” said Rachael Fish, server at PizMo Café. “We’re losing workers in the time being and hours. We have to support ourselves and our families.”
PizMo Café would likely have to throw out its wooden structure. Nearby Cool Cat Café is hoping to put everything in storage with the hope of eventually rebuilding its outdoor dining area.
“We tried to make our parklet as nice as possible, we added to it to try to add value to the city,” said Sean Corpuel, owner of Cool Cat Café. “We’ve had people mention that at night it brightens it up so it feels less dark outside. During the day it’s more vibrant because there are people outside.”
The fast-approaching deadline impacts five businesses in Pismo Beach, four of which are downtown.
“The September 30th date has not been something that has been a secret date or something that has been targeted,” said Pismo Beach Assistant City Manager Jorge Garcia.
The city of Pismo Beach is looking at creating a permanent parklet program.
Another possibility is closing off part of Pomeroy Street to car traffic permanently.
“At this point, it’s time to go away from those emergency requirements and to go through the proper vetting process so that we’re evaluating runoff issues, coastal access issues, debris,” added Garcia.
Some say that parklets have taken away valuable parking in an area where a spot is hard to come by.
“A lot of people will drive around and around and eventually they will just leave because they can’t find any parking around here,” said Sylvia Richter who works at Pier Gifts.
Others say that the parklets give visitors more opportunities to enjoy the nice weather.
“So many people that come to Pismo Beach- generationally- they’ve come here every year to build memories wish that they had this sooner,” said Kama Lopez, server at Cool Cat Café.
“It doesn’t snow here, people want to sit outside, it’s nice here. We’re in California,” added Kelli Hunter Devina who is a server at PizMo Café.
City staff will present their findings to the city council in 45 to 60 days.
The permit to operate parklets runs through the end of September. The city will conduct inspections on October 3rd to make sure that they have been dismantled.