Sonoma has always valued its small-town character which is supported by small unique businesses, many of which have been homegrown in the Sonoma Valley. Unfortunately, in March of this year, the coronavirus dramatically affected how we live, our public health and the economy. For Sonoma County, State guidance has closed restaurants for indoor dining, increasing the need for outside dining space. While this may change over time, the current guidelines limit restaurant capacity to no more than 50%, even when at the least restrictive State public health tier.
As we enter the winter months, there is a need to provide greater space that easily accessible and off the Plaza lawn. One way to address this is to allow restaurants and tasting rooms that have severe restrictions on indoor seating and/or limited outdoor expansion on their own site to use traditional parking spaces for business expansion also referred to as “Parklets” or “Sidewalk Extensions.”
To help expedite the approval process for parklets and sidewalk extensions, the City has created a new Temporary Parklet and Sidewalk Extension Guide. The goal of this guide to provide a clear process and pre-approved plans for the use of parklets and pedestrian pathways to provide additional outdoor spaces for business operation and physical distancing. It is important to note the City of Sonoma is granting approval for the parklets, but the Public Health Department and the State of California continue to have oversight over outdoor dining.
If your business is interested in constructing a parklet or sidewalk extension, please read through the City of Sonoma Temporary Parklet and Sidewalk Extension Guide which clearly outlines the requirements and process to obtain approval from the City for a temporary parklet or sidewalk extension. If you would like to proceed, complete the Temporary Parklet and Sidewalk Extension Encroachment Permit, sign the terms and conditions which require your building owner’s authorization, and submit a site plan to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the City’s facility expansion efforts on the Sonoma Al Fresco page.