Outdoor dining can cost Walnut Creek restaurants

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KRON) – Outdoor dining has been a hit in downtown Walnut Creek, but soon these popular spaces may come at a price.

The city council is leaning towards a fee to allow businesses, such as restaurants, to continue using parklets.

Outdoor dining parklets have been a pandemic lifeline for restaurants and so far parking spaces replaced with tables, chairs and tents for outdoor dining have remained free.

The Capullo Cocina Mexicana manager understands why that might have to change.

“We all know the city needs money. We all lost during the pandemic and I think it’s very reasonable that they charge a fee for that,” Yazmin Martinez said.

The numbers are still being worked out, but the Walnut Creek City Council is looking at a levy as a way to offset the money not generated from metered parking spaces.

At present, approximately 125 parking spaces are used free of charge for parklets.

That’s over $800,000 a year that goes uncollected for downtown beautification projects and the free cart.

Restaurant owners tell us the fees could force them to reconfigure their outdoor spaces.

“If we can still keep the parklets, it has been a big help throughout the pandemic. We’ve been lucky that they don’t charge us for the whole time, so if they can strike a balance while it’s still affordable, I think we’d go for it,” restaurant manager Rodel said. Mark.

It is still unclear what the cost would be for businesses to continue operating on the street and in parking lots.

Many business owners say they are willing to pay as long as the fees are reasonable.

“Thanks to the parklets, we were able to hire more people. In fact, we have doubled our staff. We’ve been able to serve more people and actually have done pretty well because of them,” Martinez said.

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