September 29, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Council Approves Sidewalk Dining Standards:

Hannah Heineman

Mirror Staff Writer

Santa Monica’s City Council approved expanded outdoor pavilion sidewalk dining standards with a 4 to 2 vote. According to the City staff report, these expanded standards would now “allow dining on the raised sidewalk areas surrounding a dining facility located in the north and south pavilion buildings” on the Third Street Promenade.

The Council also considered expanding center court dining, however, it was decided to delay a decision on these standards so City staff can continue to work with the community and the Bayside District Corporation to further refine these standards.

Prior to the vote, the Council heard from several members of the community. Kathleen Rawson, the Executive Director of the Bayside District Corporation, told the Council that expanded outdoor dining will “bring us closer to our goal of creating more outdoor dining seats on the Third Street Promenade.”

Community activist Jerry Rubin disagreed by stating, “I don’t think any of this is a good idea. It is rife with legal problems and certainly logistical problems.”

Council member Ken Genser voted no because he agreed with Rubin, and because he believes the kiosks “should serve underserved groups” that come to the Promenade, not the more upscale dining that the City has licensed to occupy the pavilions. Thus far, the City has licensed Marcel Marceu, a French restaurant that will serve wine and cheese as well as other foods to occupy the North Pavilion. He also said, “Private tables and chairs in the center courts would throw out the whole foundation for the [City’s] street performer regulations.”

Council member Kevin McKeown cast the other no vote. “By allowing our downtown to gentrify, I don’t think we are necessarily serving the people who live here,” says McKeown. He also mentioned that the Promenade, unlike other parts of Santa Monica, still offers affordable dining.

The majority of the Council supported Richard Bloom’s view that “things are changing on the Third Street Promenade. People have commented ‘I can’t find a glass of wine and sit down in a small café.”

Other Council News:

The Council also authorized the City Manager to negotiate and execute a contract with Ahbe for $450,000 for the 20th and Cloverfield Blvd. street improvement project. It requested youth employment opportunities be part of the request for proposals when a project contractor is sought.

The Council appointed Dr. Kaveta Patel to the Pier Restoration Corporation, Robert Fredrick Schwenker to the Commission for the Senior Community and Madeline Davis Heller to Commission on the Status of Women.

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