In response to the original COVID 19 shelter-in-place requirements, the City’s Planning and Economic Development Department (PED) issued 21 temporary outdoor seating encroachment permits to various businesses within the downtown and Railroad Square areas. The permits allowed for the use of adjacent sidewalks and parking areas in the public right-of-way for the placement of privately controlled commercial-use areas. The project was intended to provide temporary and immediate relief to businesses that were experiencing operational hardships due to the use restrictions on existing interior space.  

Through Sept. 12., 2022, the City will be closing out all temporary outdoor seating permits and encouraging the transition to permanent outdoor seating programs that better address safety, activation of public areas and beautification of the street scape. The PED will no longer be accepting new temporary outdoor seating permits or time extensions for existing issued permits. All seating allowed under the temporary program must be removed from the public right-of-way by September 12, 2022.

PED has developed new policies and programs to allow for the long-term permitting of some of the temporary outdoor seating allowances provided in response to the pandemic. If a business wishes to continue to use the public right-of-way for the purpose of providing seating areas beyond September 12, 2022, they may apply for a permit through one two programs:

Businesses who elect to apply for a permanent parklet or sidewalk café, and the complete application is received prior to September 12, 2022, may be eligible to retain the temporary seating area during the processing and review periods associated with the permanent seating request. The existing seating area must be in compliance with all codes, policies, standards and permit conditions in order to be eligible for the extension. The applicant must also avoid creating any delays in the permitting process that exceed 60 days. The city may initiate the removal of the temporary seating area in the event that the applicant creates any delays in the permit processing or construction phases that exceed 60 calendar days. 

To get started on applying for a parklet at a business, view the city's online step-by-step parklet guide on Camino, which is available on Camino.

Façade Improvement Grant

To enable the buildout of parklets with an enhanced aesthetic design, the city is in the process of developing a façade improvement grant program that may be used for parklet construction and design features, including art/artistic elements. Contact the Economic Development Division at [email protected] or call (707) 543-3080 for more information.

Public/Private Parklets

Parklets are defined as non-structural platforms that could be removed if needed, constructed within the traveled portion of right-of-way that replace one or more parallel, perpendicular, or diagonal parking spaces and all associated furnishings. Parklets are installed on the street side of the curb and may be allowed for a 12-month period, with the ability to request 12-month extensions annually. There is currently no limit on the number of extensions. The requirements associated with the design, permitting and installation of a parklet are described in the City’s Parklet Program Manual.

To get started on applying for a parklet at a business, view the city's online step-by-step parklet guide on Camino, which is available on Camino. For more information about, contact the city's engineering division at [email protected] or call (707) 543-4611.

Sidewalk Café 

A Sidewalk Café includes seating areas and associated delineators (fences, planter boxes, etc.) placed on an existing public sidewalk. The allowances and restrictions associated with Sidewalk Cafés are described in section 20-42.160 of the Santa Rosa City Code. Any inquiries associated with the addition or expansion of the Sidewalk Café seating may be directed to PED’s Planning division at (707) 543-3200 or [email protected].