Post-COVID outdoor dining, alcohol takeout get OK from Council

COVID ushered in a brave new world for bars and restaurants in West Hollywood, and that world looks like it’s here to stay.

City Council moved one step closer Monday night to permanently allowing outdoor dining on sidewalks and in parking lots, as well as permitting the sale of alcohol as a takeout/delivery item — the hallmarks of the OUTzone program, created at the height of the pandemic to mitigate the economic effect of lockdowns on the city’s dining and nightlife establishments.

“I’ve never seen our city so vibrant and full of life and excitement and happening,” said Councilmember John D’Amico, who voted alongside his colleagues to approve staff’s recommendations in two separate motions.

“I have a different perspective,” said Mayor Lauren Meister during councilmember comments. “I feel like we are putting the cart before the horse, by not discussing the OUTzones and how that’s actually going to work, which places should have them, which places shouldn’t have them.”

Meister was concerned about the amendments’ unforeseen consequences, and she wondered whether there was a reason to institute them before more public feedback could be attained.

“We do have a parking issue here,” Meister said “I hear it from from people all the time and I hear it from business owners. Staff is comparing us to San Diego, and we are not San Diego. For people coming into West Hollywood, from other areas, we’re still seeing people take their cars. We’re not seeing everybody in rideshares. And rideshares are also getting more and more expensive. If people can’t find a place to park, then that could hurt business, and even ride-sharing cars are causing traffic problems.”

“The OUTzones have been very successful for getting us through the pandemic, but I there’s a little bit of a disconnect here,” said former Councilmember Steve Martin during public comment, echoing her concerns. ” It seems like a little bit of a rush; it has a vague tinge of the Robertson Lane closing, which seemed like a great idea, but it kind of came back and to bite you in the ass.”

Meister voted for the measure after the council reached a compromise limiting the amount of outdoor dining space with no parking requirement.

The motion also directs city staff to explore the use of public parking potentially to allow two-hour free parking during the day and or at night or both, as well as additional community outreach.

The amendment to allow bars and restaurants to sell alcohol as a takeout item, already enshrined in state law, passed without D’Amico’s support.

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Douglas
Douglas
22 days ago

I’m sorry. This is getting ridiculous. This is the worst reporting ever and it keeps continuing. Grammar, half stories are NOT reporting. I know you can do better. We used to have a standard. Can you please report the whole story or nothing at all? What is someone supposed to take away from this? We didn’t hear the other side, just a few tid bits of what Lauren said. There was a much bigger debate.

Joshua88
Joshua88
24 days ago

I think this is the conversation where M Meister kept saying she wanted the input of residents.

She appears to be the only person who ever does.

Again, the comments are mostly negative, as usual.
What is the matter with too many of the people here?

Amateurish
Amateurish
24 days ago

This is not like dining out in Paris, Munich, Berlin, London or countless other sidewalk eateries. This is a Shantytown or Tobacco Road atmosphere. Not safe or attractive . Amateurish.

Wesley McDowell
Wesley McDowell
24 days ago

Thank you Lauren for your reasonable and well thought out approach to this. Not only are the disabled being overlooked, once again, but so we’re just average people who are trying to get around. Stache took over the whole sidewalk so now we have to walk on plywood in the street. What is the plan for this? And the problem is not just on Santa Monica Boulevard. Has anyone bothered to look at the intersection of Palm and Holloway where Dialog Cafe has basically taken over the street? It was hard enough seeing cars coming west on Holloway before but… Read more »

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
24 days ago

At the beginning of the article you wrote that “The City Council moved one step closer to…“ So, hopefully that means it’s not set in stone yet. This is good. The Disabilities Advisory Board and the Senior Advisory Board have yet to meet this month, and I am hoping that they will take up the questions of both parking and sidewalk accessibility in regard to the continued use of outzones. I know that their recommendations will be submitted to the City Council. And I’m hoping that the City Council will listen to what they have to say! Sadly, it seems… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by Mikie Friedman
Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
25 days ago

There’s nothing like eating in the filthy street.

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
23 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Exactly, and sharing your table with homeless drug addicts peeing next to you whilst veterans in wheel chairs can’t get through.

Kevin R
Kevin R
25 days ago

Thank you Lauren for speaking up about the parking issue. As a handicapped individual I need to park as close s possible to my destination or I can’t go due to limited mobility. In the old days I would just wait for a metered space to open. Now there are many stores I am no longer able to go to because there is no proximate parking.

Say What?!
Say What?!
25 days ago

“our city so vibrant and full of life and excitement” HUH? Does this guy ever go out?

voting
voting
25 days ago
Reply to  Say What?!

D’Amico can’t help saying and doing stupid things. Thankfully he is gone. No respect to him and the harm he has done to our community,

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
25 days ago
Reply to  Say What?!

I go out all the time. Sometimes to restaurants, sometimes to a bar, sometimes just to walk around. I’d say this statement is accurate.

I know that doesn’t fit the “sky is falling” narrative on here though.

Say What?!
Say What?!
25 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

You sound like him.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
25 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Santa Monica Blvd. is as vibrant as I have every seen it and that really helped our budget bounce back after COVID. The Out Zones did help create that vibrancy but in we still have to make our sidewalks ADA compliant. Mayor Meister has the right idea, fix the problem areas before you give businesses an entitlement, this is just common sense. It was so typical of staff to have ignored our Disability Advisory Board when they brought this item forward.

JF1
JF1
25 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Our current council is lacking common sense. And it has for sometime. this should be a class action lawsuit filed by people with disabilities.

WokeHole
WokeHole
25 days ago
Reply to  Say What?!

John “Ed Buck” D’Amico is an oral cripple. Nightmarish to listen to his blabbering claptrap. Another drawback for this political hack is that he thinks he’s funny. He is about amusing as a dead baby’s doll. Thank the Sky Gods he is history in November.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
25 days ago

“Post-COVID”

COVID is here to stay

WokeHole
WokeHole
25 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

You mean the CCP Flu – Chinese Communist Party Flu.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
25 days ago
Reply to  WokeHole

No, I mean COVID

C.R.
C.R.
24 days ago
Reply to  WokeHole

LA County is back in the covid high transmission category and the mask mandate is returning this month. We need outzones to continue to be there to accommodate this for many people, whether you happen to care or not.

Critical Construct
Critical Construct
25 days ago

Taxpayers pay for these sidewalks that have been appropriated by certain businesses. Forced to walk on narrow wooden boards–placed in the street–around select bars and restaurants is another insult to residents who have to navigate these areas in daily life. Not to mention the unnecessary dangers posed to mobility-challenged people and the added risk that pedestrian crowding brings in a Covid world, residents should be demanding the return of public property that our taxes made possible.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
25 days ago

Outzones can be a good thing, if done properly. Lauren Meister gets it right again by saying that things should be thought out and consideration given to where they make sense, and where they don’t. There also needs to be design considerations that remove the look and feel of a war zone. Pedestrian right of way must be restored, particularly at the Tom Tom/Beaches mess and the Stache over-encroachment. The installations at Pure Vita and Norah are dangerous and must be scaled back.

JF1
JF1
25 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Absolutely. You are 100% correct.

No, Nay, Never
No, Nay, Never
24 days ago
Reply to  JF1

All this noise about Public Safety completely and consistently overlooks pedestrian safety on our sidewalks. The City Council needs to be introduced to the concept of NO!
NO TO SCOOTERS ON SIDEWALKS, NO TO OUTZONES ON SIDEWALKS!

Critical thinking wanted.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
24 days ago
Reply to  No, Nay, Never

Critical thinking is a product of a classical liberal education. We are now knee deep in woke reactionary education indoctrination and intolerance.

JF1
JF1
25 days ago

Once again, the council rushed these items to approval. These were supposed to be temporary. With no clear vision for a “permanent” installation, we have a shanty town appearance. What about pedestrians? The sidewalks are a public right of way. If you want to create permanent outdoor dining on the public right of way, then create a new sidewalk where the street parking use to be. Even with that, what are the handicap supposed to do, park far away from a business and crawl to their destination? We really need to get these fools out. Thank God D’Amico is on… Read more »

Last edited 25 days ago by JF1
John McCormick
John McCormick
23 days ago
Reply to  JF1

If parking is such an issue, expand the trolley services. And please, for the love of gay…power wash our rainbow crosswalk on a regular schedule. They’re disgusting.

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