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Paso Robles & Pismo Beach seek to end temporary parklets, explore other outdoor dining solutions

Angel Russell
The Paso Robles temporary parklets will be removed by Nov 1, 2021. Staff has been directed to develop an Outdoor Dining Alternatives Program

Last summer, cities gave a lifeline to restaurants battling indoor dining restrictions by allowing temporary curbside parklets. But with the parklets taking up parking revenue, the cities of Pismo Beach and Paso Robles recently debated the fate of their outdoor dining programs. 

Although restaurants have been able to serve indoors at full capacity since June, outdoor dining parklets are often lively with guests in downtown Pismo Beach. 

“It’s a game changer," said Bob Kuntz, owner of the Boardroom Beer Pub in downtown Pismo Beach.

At a special City Council meeting Thursday, Kuntz said that having his curbside parklet overlook the coastline has helped keep his doors open during the pandemic. 

“The increase in business, the increase in happy people that love coming down sitting outside," Kuntz said. "They really enjoy just everything that’s done with that.”

This month, the cities of Paso Robles and Pismo Beach debated what to do with their parklet program, with both cities citing loss in revenue from parking.

Kimberly Sherwin, a Paso Robles retail business owner, told the City Council that the lack of parking has hurt her customer base.

“I service a lot of elderly customers and they are not always able to walk," Sherwin said. "They have walkers, they have canes, they have all kinds of ailments that keep them from being able to walk many blocks.”

Paso Robles voted to remove the parklets by November 1, and Pismo Beach voted to extend the parklets until December 31.

Both city councils say although the temporary parklets will be coming down, they will look into finding long-term solutions for outdoor dining options.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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