Fairfax approves parklet program fees

Fairfax business owners with outdoor dining parklets will have to pay multiple fees by Dec. 15.

City Council voted 5-0 Thursday to approve the fee schedule for the city’s new parklet program that went into effect Friday.

Businesses are required to pay a one-time application fee of $500 and a maintenance and sanitation deposit of $1,000.

The city will also charge an annual rental fee per parking space occupied by the outdoor dining structure. Private parklets will be subject to a fee of $1,000 per year, while public parklet operators will be charged $500 per year. Businesses with an existing temporary encroachment permit will receive a 50% discount in the first year of the program.

“We have recognized that there is already a significant investment in these structures and additional work is going to be required to comply with our new rules,” Mayor Stephanie Hellman said, explaining the discount.

Originally, planning director David Woltering proposed setting lower fees to entice business owners to get involved.

After a nearly two-hour hearing, council debated the fee and whether to charge a security deposit.

“It would seem to me that it would be a good idea to have some kind of deposit,” council member Barbara Coler said.

Like many communities in Marin, Fairfax has struggled with how to handle parklets since authorities began allowing businesses to serve customers outdoors in 2020, when the COVID-19 lockdown banned indoor dining. inside.

The parklets have the support of some residents and business owners who say they add charm and draw people to downtown. Critics say they deter visitors because they block storefronts and take up valuable parking spaces. Some say parklets are a security issue.

“I think it’s widely recognized that parklets have been a real improvement for the community and bringing people together,” Hellman said.

The new parklet program will allow overhead coverings, including roofs and sun shades, as long as they don’t block the view of other businesses.

Mobile umbrellas are allowed. Gas heaters are prohibited, but electric heaters are acceptable. Signs are not allowed.

Parklets should only extend the length of the width of the store, unless a neighboring store shares the space. Other accessibility and security requirements have also been approved.

Businesses with parklets have until December 15 to comply with the new rules. City officials issued recalls on Sept. 13.

The council is set to discuss whether to allow music on the parklets at an upcoming meeting.

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