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Council Approves Outdoor Dining and Display Options During COVID-19

New program allows restaurants to expand services outdoors

Post Date:06/09/2020 7:07 PM

The New Program – Dine Out LE

Due to COVID-19, many restaurants have lost significant capacity for dining due to social distancing and safety guidelines recommended by the State of California.

Therefore, on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, the City Council approved a new program to allow restaurants to establish temporary expanded outdoor use areas in a safe, clean environment for workers and customers in compliance with State COVID-19 Industry Guidelines.

Expanded outdoor use areas can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Sidewalks or other pedestrian areas that are wide enough to maintain applicable social distancing separation guidelines and required path of travel clearance for accessibility. Outdoor courtyard areas and other shopping center common areas, subject to property owner approval.
  • Parking areas, including public and private parking lots and parking spaces directly adjacent to the operating eating and drinking establishment in public rights of way. Use of any ADA accessible space is not permitted.

This program greatly relaxes the City’s existing parking and zoning requirements and simplifies the process to better accommodate our restaurants to expand services to include outdoor seating.

The Guidelines & Process to Apply for Outdoor Dining & Display Options

Those restaurants interested in taking part in this program are required to apply for a Temporary Use Permit including a proposed Site Plan. To assist our business community in easily navigating this new process, the City has created a comprehensive guide regarding how to apply and the rules and regulations required to expand dining outdoors.

More specifically, this guide includes:

  • General Regulations
  • Submittal Requirements
  • Temporary Use Permit Application (Apply Online)
  • Sample Site Plan
  • Acceptance Form
  • Encroachment Permit Application (only required if restaurant intends to use public right of way areas such as sidewalks and public parking lots)

Businesses MUST apply for a Temporary Use Permit prior to operation in the expanded outdoor areas. Individual restaurants may apply for an application or a property management company may apply for an application for shopping center with multiple restaurants seeking multiple expanded use areas.

Applications may be submitted to the Planning Division electronically (preferred method) at www.lake-elsinore.org/css or in-person between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Please allow approximately five (5) business days for the processing of an application. Permits will be valid until September 30, 2020, or until further COVID-19 restrictions are lifted by the State of California.

Extended outdoor use areas that are not subject to a temporary use permit include locations on private property that are not for general use; as those are permitted by right or as an accessory use (without amplified entertainment) with permanent improvements subject to building permits. Once your application has been approved, a Building Inspector will come to your business prior to opening to ensure code compliance and Code Enforcement will monitor to ensure that ADA accessibility has been maintained. This process is expected to be able to be completed in the same week.

Related Resources & Links 

Complete Guide to Applying for a Temporary Use Permit for Outdoor Dining and Display

Apply Online for a Temporary Use Permit for Outdoor Dining and Display

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