Carmel City Council Meeting
Date & Time: Tuesday, December 8, 2020 4:00PM
Submitted by: Marnie Waffle, Acting Community Development Planning & Building Director
Subject: Update on Outdoor Seating in the Public Way (OSPW)
Carmel City staff wants to know what to do about the future of the emergency restaurant outdoor seating program (often called parklets) in public parking spaces, walkways, and sidewalks.
Ms. Waffle has presented seven questions for our City Councilmembers to consider.
1. Should the Outdoor Dining program be extended? If so, for how long?
Existing program: Unless dining and wine bar customers can move back into their indoor space earlier, the emergency OSPW (or parklets) program expires December 31, 2020.
Due to early December spikes in positive cases of COVID-19 in our region, it’s unlikely State or County health agencies will allow indoor dining or drinking sooner than the end of the year.
The mayor’s ad-hoc committee has suggested extending the program for five more months ending April 30, 2021. It doesn’t appear to include the original rule ending the parklet program before the April 30, 2020 expiration when dining and drinking can move safely back inside.
There has been concern that some restaurants and wine bars have invested in infrastructure and heating apparatus to create a more comfortable environment for their customers. The owners want to make sure their investment is fully amortized by continuing to use the public space for as long as possible.
Comments Around Town
• We should do anything we can to help people keep their jobs.
• It looks more vibrant, like Europe.
• DO NOT EXTEND THE PARKLETS PROGRAM INDEFINITELY! That space belongs to the public and should be returned to the public a soon as possible.
• This is a handout to only some businesses.
• There have been positive cases of COVID in downtown Carmel, but nobody tells the locals or the tourists. Unacceptable.
• Restaurants and wine tasting are not the only businesses in town. My shop windows are now behind a parklet through the entire Christmas season. Not fair.
• To get to the Post Office during their new hours I have walk through three restaurant dining rooms or take my chances walking down the middle of the street.
• Signage is everywhere telling us to wear masks and stay six feet apart, but I guess the coronavirus doesn’t go in restaurants. Maybe wine kills viruses.
• Ok, restaurants serve food. We all need to eat. But wine tasting? Really? Too risky.
• Thanks to Facebook’s Share button out-of-towners think Carmel is the only place open-for-business. We don’t have the resources to protect our community, our workers, or the tourists when we get swamped.
Extend the parklet program in 90 day increments starting January 1, 2021 or until the health department allows at least 50% capacity indoors, whichever comes first.