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Workshop debates ways to keep parklets in Paso Robles

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Posted at 6:18 AM, Mar 23, 2022

On Tuesday the outdoor dining ad hoc committee held a public workshop to discuss ways of creating permanent outdoor dining options that would please both community members and restaurant owners in Paso Robles.

"This workshop was about getting public input. So we wanted to hear from the residents, business owners, downtown restaurants, just kind of find out what the overall thoughts were," said Warren Frace, City of Paso Robles Development Director.

Yanagi Paso Bar and Grill server, Elizabeth Prieve, said they are in favor of the parklets and are hoping the city allows them to expand their sidewalk in order to seat more guests.

"We think sidewalks would be great, we're just hoping parking will work out with residents as it's kind of an issue," said Prieve.

Though extending sidewalks and adding parklets would likely boost business for restaurants, it's also contributing to the pre-existing parking shortage in downtown Paso Robles.

"If restaurants want to have outdoor seating, have them find a place with an outdoor patio. Don't take over our city streets," said Kristene Thompson, community member.

The city's development director said parking downtown has been an even bigger problem since the parklets became popular.

"I think it's just one of those issues where you have to kind of find the balance point between the two and that's what this process is really about exploring to see if we can find something that works for everyone," said Frace.

During the pandemic, the City of Paso Robles had 22 parklets used by 27 restaurants. An encroachment permit was issued to participating establishments for the use of parklets or the sidewalks.

Other options discussed Tuesday evening include rooftop dining, closing streets, and extending sidewalks. An official decision was not made Tuesday evening and committee members say there is no clear timeline as to when they will make that decision.