Seal Beach says sidewalks are for pedestrians

City wants sandwich boards, clothing racks relocated. Parklets will remain for now

File photo

The city recently asked businesses to remove items from Main Street’s sidewalks.

The Sun heard about it from a reader and on July send emails were sent to the city manager, assistant city manager, and the mayor.

“The City has not told the Main St. restaurants to take down their parklets,” wrote District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick in a July 12 email.

“Our Community Services officer Samuel did walk Main Street and advise the business owners or managers that all of the extraneous items—tables and chairs, clothing racks,  A-frame signs, outdoor heaters, etc. That is, anything that is blocking pedestrians’ right of way must be removed,” Kalmick wrote.

City Manager Jill Ingram went into more detail in a July 11 email.

“As a result of increasing complaints about pedestrian access and safety concerns on Main Street, last week the City’s neighborhood services officer walked the entire stretch of Main Street to respectfully talk to businesses who have encroached on the sidewalk and were creating pedestrian safety issues, especially during our busiest visitor-serving season of the year,” Ingram wrote.

“The City’s neighborhood services officer specifically addressed those businesses with sandwich board signs, clothing racks, merchandise tables, patio heaters, tables and chairs, etc., and any items being stored on/near the sidewalk on public property,” Ingram wrote.

“In some circumstances, business owners are placing those items in adjacent outdoor dining parklets, which is not the intent of the permitted outdoor dining parklets,” Ingram wrote.

What about the parklets?

“The parklets may remain for now as we assess the future of outdoor dining,” Kalmick wrote.

“No decision has been made by Staff or the Council at this time,” Kalmick wrote.

In a June 23 email, Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos, wrote that Senate Bill 314 and Assembly Bill 61 allow businesses with COVID-related outdoor dining permits until Jan. 1, 2024 to apply for permanent outdoor dining. “Moving forward, any permanent outdoor dining installation in the City will require Coastal Commission approval,” Gallegos wrote.

“Restaurants with permitted outdoor dining parklets were not directed to remove the parklets and tables and chairs from the parklets, especially given that they are permitted through September 30th,” Ingram wrote on July 11.

“However, those restaurants who have placed tables and chairs in the public right of way (sidewalk) were asked to either move them back onto private property so that they are not blocking or impeding pedestrian access, and if that is not feasible, to remove them,” Ingram wrote.

“Again, this outreach effort is a result of complaints and concerns about pedestrian access and safety, and we hope to gain full compliance from businesses in order to mitigate pedestrian safety issues,” Ingram wrote.