This spring, the San Diego City Council unanimously passed proposed changes to the city’s regulation and permitting process for sidewalk cafés. For more than 18 months, leaders of the California Restaurant Association (CRA) San Diego County chapter worked closely with city officials and the community to find ways to reconsider the existing burdensome and costly regulations that made it difficult for restaurant operators to expand their outdoor dining areas.
When the owner of the Brooklyn Girl Eatery in Mission Hills wanted to add a sidewalk café to his restaurant, he was stunned to discover that securing permits for a few tables would have cost as much as $10,000.
City Councilman Kevin Faulconer worked with the community, the CRA and his council colleagues to reduce permitting time and develop a fee of less than $1,000. Brooklyn Girl was the first business to make use of the new regulation.
“San Diego is a wonderful place for sidewalk cafés, but the cost and time of permitting through the city was prohibitive,” Brooklyn Girl owner Mike McGeath said. “Kevin helped cut through the red tape, not only for me, but for many other restaurants who want to add sidewalk cafés. By expanding our dining space and providing al fresco seating will add more jobs and increase tax revenue for the city.”