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Carmel-by-the-Sea will not place permanent outdoor seating on the city’s top propriety project list

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. (KION) After Tuesday night's city council meeting, the Carmel City Council unanimously voted not to proceed with the effort to place the permanent outdoor seating program in the public right away, on the city’s top priority project list.

"This report did exactly what I wanted it to do which was to let the public know this is not something simple that can be done capriciously and involves a lot of work,” said Carmel Mayor Dave Potter, during the meeting.  

The thumbs down on the proposal for a permanent program, came despite push back from restaurants at Tuesday’s meeting, hoping to see parklets as a city priority. 

“We slowed down in business because we don’t have outdoor dining. I really encourage you to look at it as a change to the town it will be a better change, it will be more revenue by bringing more people to the town and it's going to be better style,” mentioned Carmel restaurant owner, Bashar Sheeh, who spoke during open public comment.

Another argument was asking the city council to individualize the plan, by taking requests from certain restaurants that would like to partake. However, members of the city council and locals agreed it's a complex issue, one that shouldn’t be added to the city’s general plan at this time. 

“I understand that the restaurant owners want it, and I understand a lot of people want dining outside but I can tell you since the parklets have disappeared its been just a delight to walk down the streets of Carmel," said Lucinda Lloyd, a Carmel resident who spoke via Zoom during the meeting.

So why talk about prioritizing permanent outdoor dining, after temporary parklets were already removed on April 20th?  “There was a group of people that wanted to explore outdoor dining so that is the only reason why I want to listen to this and why we are listening to it but with that said I want to move forward without a general plan before we move forward with outdoor dining,” Bobby Richards, Carmel Mayor Pro Tem.

The presentation presented at Tuesday’s meeting highlighted three major program development components, public meetings, policy decisions, and regulatory considerations and amendments. The project was seeking to be placed on the top 16 prioritized project list.  

Currently, 8 out of the 16 projects on that list are managed through the community planning and building department.

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Erika Bratten

Erika Bratten is a weather forecaster for KION News Channel 5/46.

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