Outdoor dining to continue at night

Restaurants that participate in the outdoor dining will have to submit a plan to the Fire Department for storage of tables as well as for ingress and egress.

After a lengthy discussion, the Avalon City Council this week changed the rules for outdoor dining on the beaches and other designated public areas.

The consensus was to end daytime outdoor dining on June 30.

And no outdoor dining on the Fourth of July.

Mayor Anni Marshall moved to allow set up at 5:40 p.m., with dinner service starting at 6 p.m., no daytime service. Restaurants that participate in the outdoor dining will have to submit a plan to the Fire Department for storage of tables as well as for ingress and egress.

The fee the city will charge was a separate debate. Councilmember Lisa Lavelle favored a fee based on square footage, divided by time. Councilmember Cinde Cassidy initially favored square-footage, but changed her position in favor of per-table fees.  

The council unanimously voted for to have a flat monthly fee of $1,200 a month for four tables or $1,800 a month for six tables.

Restaurants will also be required to show they have California Alcoholic Beverage Control Department licenses to serve alcohol outdoors.

Restaurant owners expressed concern about the changes, as they and their employees continue to suffer the economic impact of the pandemic. Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted most of the pandemic rules Tuesday, June 15. Owners of lunchtime restaurants wanted the daytime dining to continue.

Some residents recommended returning the beaches to recreational use.

One unknown is whether the California Coastal Commission will require a coastal development permit for restaurants to dine outdoors.

“The City’s temporary outdoor dining program has been very successful in providing property for restaurants without an established outdoor dining area to operate during COVID-19 related health department restrictions,” according to the staff report by City Manager Denise Radde and Administrative Analyst Devin Hart. 

“Additionally, the program has provided a unique and photographic experience for residents and visitors,” they wrote.

“Feedback regarding the outdoor dining program has been both positive and negative,” the report said. 

“Specifically, the City received complaints regarding recreational users of the beaches being asked outright or pressured to leave the beach to make space for outdoor dining, use of freestanding sandwich board signage along the beach and public right of way, grease stains on bricked areas of Sumner and Crescent, and tables on Front Street between storefronts and the serpentine wall,” the staff report said.

Outdoor dining to continue at night