Restaurants To Be Allowed To Apply For Access To Sidewalks And Parking For Outdoor Service

Emergency Ordinance on Permits Will Facilitate Use of Public Right of Way – A press release from the City of Visalia

In order to assist restaurants impacted by state and local public health orders on COVID-19, the City of Visalia has implemented an immediate measure whereby restaurants may apply for temporary conditional use permits allowing the use of portions of the public right of way for dining and takeout service, while protecting the health and safety of the public, customers, and employees. The City is taking this unusual step under the emergency declaration passed by the City Council earlier this year.

“We want to do our part to help our local restaurants quickly adapt to the changes that have been put in place surrounding the restriction of in-door dining,” shares Paul Bernal, City Planner, City of Visalia. “Since Tulare County is on the list of counties that can only allow takeout, delivery or outdoor dining, this ordinance will better serve our restaurants and our community.”

The City order states, “The emergency regulation is intended to allow the same practices used for temporary conditional changes on private property to be applied when a similar temporary conditional use of the public right of way is sought by business.”

Processed through the Community Development Department, permits, once granted, will allow the temporary conditional usage of public right of way by restaurants as they modify business in response to COVID-19 related public health orders.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Sidewalk dining with a minimum four-foot wide accessible path of travel for pedestrians and a minimum six-foot separation between the chairs associated with different dining tables for social distancing.
  • Up to two public parking spaces located only in front of a restaurant / eating establishment may be reserved for pick-up / take-out orders.
  • Consumption of alcohol will only be allowed if the business is expressly permitted to offer such sales in the specified area under an existing state license as issued by the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.
  • Compliance with applicable public health laws is required.

“The emergency regulation will take effect immediately, however it is subject to ratification by the City Council,” added Bernal.

The Monday, July 20th meeting of the Visalia City Council will include an agenda item on the ratification on the Order and direction on fees associated.

For more information or questions, contact the City of Visalia Community Development’s Paul Bernal, City Planner, at (559) 713-4025, or by e-mail at [email protected].

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