Planning Commission wants to nix outdoor dining parking requirements, allow offsite alcohol sales

West Hollywood’s Planning Commission is recommending two COVID-era policies — outdoor dining in public spaces and alcoholic beverage sales for off-site consumption — become a permanent option for WeHo’s restaurants.

In June 2020, the city created the OUTzone program which allowed commercial spaces to expand business operations outdoors in the public right-of-way (sidewalks and metered parking) and on private off-street parking lots.

The Planning Commission greenlit a zone text amendment that would allow outdoor dining spaces to operate without additional parking, regardless of square footage. Specifically, it would eliminate parking requirements for all outdoor dining areas in the public-right-of-way (sidewalks and metered parking) and on private property. Currently, the West Hollywood Municipal Code only allows up to 250 square feet of outdoor dining without requiring additional parking. For areas that are greater than 250 square feet, the Municipal Code requires 3.5 parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet of outdoor dining.

Prior to the vote, a lively round of discussion was kicked off by Commissioner David Gregoire.

“I’ve been on the commission for five months now and the one thing that keeps bothering me is concerns about parking. I know there’s a big push to get everyone to get rid of their cars and use bicycles, but that’s probably going to happen over many decades. I appreciate that the business community says that they’re not going to be adversely affected by removing these parking spaces. There were no major citations or no citations during the pandemic due to these OUTzones, but there was the volume of people going out to businesses and West Hollywood was significantly down during the pandemic as well. So, as this moves forward to City Council and staff continues to work on it, I think we really need to be mindful of what the cumulative impact of reducing parking minimums in many different contexts will be.”

“Personally, I cannot think of too many businesses using parking as dining that aren’t within about four blocks of a parking structure,” said Commissioner Rogelio Carvalheiro.

Public comment was limited, with only Manny Rodriguez submitting a written comment.

“When there’s no parking, customers use Ride-Hailing (formally called “Ride-Sharing”) to individually arrive at a location. That Ride-Hailing vehicle never leaves the road and contributes to traffic chaos and is detrimental to the environment. Parking is good, no parking is No Bueno,” Rodriguez wrote.

The Planning Commission also approved an amendment that would allow alcoholic beverage sales for both on- and off-site consumption in residential zoning districts with a Minor Conditional Use Permit. A California senate bill that went into effect in January expanded off-sale privileges for certain ABC licensees allowing them to sell distilled spirits, beer and/or wine for off-sale consumption (takeout via pick-up).

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About Brandon Garcia
Brandon Garcia is editor of WEHOville. He oversees the website's editorial direction and creates original content such as news reports, photo and video features, digital art work and advertisements. A native of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, he now lives in WeHo and is a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community. @brandoninthebubble on Instagram

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Dr Meow Meow
Dr Meow Meow
4 months ago

Get rid of the street parking except for ride share and delivery slots and make the rest permanent parklets. We don’t drive anymore. Why should I sacrifice for a parking spot?

Davedi
Davedi
5 months ago

Yes, let’s do more sidewalk dining as more and more people who live on the sidewalk call whd their new home. I’m sure they’ll eventually pass an ordinance that if one of your outdoor dining chairs is vacant, you will be required to offer it to one of the homeless…excuse me…unhoused neighbors.

RobbyDobbyMark2
RobbyDobbyMark2
5 months ago

As a disabled pedestrian I’m not pleased with trying to navigate the out zones and pedestrian traffic clogging the tight narrow sidewalks these zones create. Without my Guide Dog, I highly doubt aI could safely navigate through the area. I oppose the idea of making them permanent. The side walks were widened with the intent of making walking easier. If you remember the old sidewalks during busy periods, getting past the crowds outside the entrances to clubs was next to impossible. Much as it is now. I would urge the planning commission to NOT continue with this unnecessary and potentially… Read more »

JF1
JF1
5 months ago

The disabled community should file a class action lawsuit.

Jerry Pelosi
Jerry Pelosi
5 months ago

Covid is so scary. I’m rethinking ever entering society again. Not enough people are wearing masks and they congregate too closely. I’m hoping they offer another booster soon. I want one…or two more!! Thank God I live in California where people wear masks responsibly alone in their cars. It’s the only place that can handle Covid responsibly. Praise Fauci!!!! Praise Fauci!!!

Davedi
Davedi
5 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Pelosi

Good one.

Thomas
Thomas
5 months ago

These people are brain dead where do they come from Mars.
There’s more people on the sidewalks that need room to walk than concerns of parking. Let’s bike to Stach where do we put the bike? if they don’t know by now it’s not safe to have a make shift 1800s wood walkway by now please get these people out of here. So ignorant

SML
SML
5 months ago

IF they are to remain, The city should require certain minimum consistent design standards. The tacky signs and cheap wood framing looks terrible. If we keep them, let’s make it at least look good.

RJH
RJH
5 months ago

These parklets served their purpose helping to keep area businesses afloat at the time. Now, they should go. Most are eyesores. There were never any “regulations” on how they were constructed/designed and the required city barriers that must be used to prevent cars from crashing into them are unsightly and a real blight to the area. REMOVE THEM NOW. Sidewalks belong to pedestrians not businesses!

resident
resident
5 months ago

These people have ZERO qualifications to make decisions or recommendations on behalf of the residents of West Hollywood. Bunch of jokers with no credibility whatsoever.

Michael on Havenhurst
Michael on Havenhurst
5 months ago

It is time for a class action Breach of Public Trust lawsuit against all members of the city council. Time to make these corrupt politicians pay and clean up West Hollywood City Hall. Plus recall Shyne and Erickson.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
5 months ago

yep

Jimmy palmieri
Jimmy palmieri
5 months ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Good grief

JF1
JF1
5 months ago

Sign me up.

RobbyDobbyMark2
RobbyDobbyMark2
5 months ago

Sue them for not doing what exactly? It’s all well and good to vent your steam in comments but if you’re going to sue the City, it might be nice for you to factually explain what you intend to sue them for?

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
5 months ago

This really sucks! The outzones were approved and built only because people couldn’t eat indoors during Covid. What’s the reason for them now? That’s easy… Greed!
They are called sideWALKS for a reason. They are not sideSITS or sideRIDES!
Geesh!!
as far as take out alcohol is concerned, do we really want to become another New Orleans? Again, Geesh!

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
5 months ago

I agree with Manny that on many parts of Santa Monica there are not safe spaces for ride sharing vehicles to pick up or off load passengers. Ceding the parking spaces seems like a gift of public property. I am all for outdoor dining but we need to see some balance.

Michael on Havenhurst
Michael on Havenhurst
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Your support of Lindsey Horvath for LA C Supervisor is a major reason not to vote for you as a member of the WEHO City Council. Why should we take your advise on anything when you are backing Horvath, who is attached to the anti-semitic Chelsea Byers. Time to label anyone backing either Byers or Horvath as anti-semitic.

TomSmart
TomSmart
5 months ago

Absurd.

Michael on havenhurst
Michael on havenhurst
5 months ago
Reply to  TomSmart

Horvath is on the cancel culture list. Not from the Democrats but from the IND/GOP. So she is not elected to any office ever in California. And those backing her are also on the CC list. This of course means listed as anti-semitic since she refuses to stop her association with Jew hating Chelsea Byers

Last edited 5 months ago by Michael on havenhurst
Jimmy Palmieri
5 months ago

I like this decision on outside dining. However, there should be some amount of dollars from each business making use of them, for upkeep, pest control. power washing etc. Also I hope the outside areas are insured by the businesses, and the city is not liable for issues on them.

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