Fifth District Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger will submit a motion at the Tuesday, Aug. 30 Board of Supervisors meeting to extend Conditional Use Permits allowing restaurants to provide outdoor dining.
The motion noted that the restaurant industry has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. At various times, restaurants could only operate on a takeout or delivery basis and at other times indoor dining was only allowed with a limited capacity. Numerous
restaurants have closed permanently and those that remain open have incurred significant losses and experienced continued hardship.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has taken several actions to support the restaurant industry since the pandemic began. In July 2020, the board initiated a COVID-19 Temporary Outdoor Dining Program, serving as a lifeline to restaurants when indoor dining areas were completely closed or had limited capacity.
In June 2021, the Board directed the Chief Executive Office to collaborate with several county departments to outline the scope of a permanent outdoor dining program.
After reviewing their recommendations, in April 2022 the Board initiated two separate ordinances amending the county code to create regulations for permanent outdoor dining within the public right-of-way and on private property.
Barger’s statement in support of her motion states there is more the county can do to help restaurants still struggling to recover from pandemic-related restrictions.
“However, given the depth and breadth of the impact to restaurants, an overwhelming amount of which are small businesses, there is still more we can do to help the long-term recovery of the industry. One such action is to extend Conditional Use Permits for restaurants in our unincorporated communities.
Conditional Use Permits for restaurants include a grant term with an expiration date. Before that expiration date, restaurants must apply for a new CUP. This process involves a public hearing, helping ensure that the restaurants operate in a responsible manner, especially if they sell alcoholic beverages, and are otherwise compatible with their neighborhoods.
However, this process can be expensive and time consuming, especially for small business owners. Therefore, I propose that we extend the grant term for all currently valid CUPs by 18 months to acknowledge the financial impacts of the pandemic and provide restaurants with more time to prepare their applications for new CUPs. All other conditions would remain in effect unchanged, and the County Code allows for CUPs to be modified or revoked before the end of the extended grant term, if necessary to address public health and safety concerns.”