The City Council approved new standards for permanent outdoor dining for Fountain Valley restaurants at its regular meeting on July 20, 2021. Back in June of 2020, the City created a Temporary Emergency Use Permit to allow restaurants to expand their dining areas onto private sidewalks and parking lots to accommodate customers and maintain proper social distancing limits. These permits will expire at the end of September 2021; however, there is a continued desire for restaurant patrons to dine outdoors. The new standards approved by Council will allow for permanent outdoor seating in existing sidewalk and patio areas as well as newly constructed patio areas. Permanent barriers, planters, and railings will be required to ensure the safety of patrons and temporary tents and “e-z ups” will not be allowed.
In order to allow for new and expanded outdoor dining opportunities, City staff had to examine the City’s commercial parking requirements. Historically, Fountain Valley had strict parking requirements for restaurants, medical offices, and personal service businesses (hair/nail salons, etc.). By requiring less parking for these businesses, shopping centers can attract new food, medical and personal service businesses. As the shift in retail activities continues, both the City and property owners need to be flexible to accommodate the new dynamic of commercial real estate.
For more information on permanent outdoor dining and the changes to the parking regulations, please contact Matt.Jenkins@fountainvalley.org.