More Pismo Beach parklets on the way

Pismo Beach unveiled its first parklet, in front of Esquire News at Cypress and Hind streets, in March 2015.
Pismo Beach unveiled its first parklet, in front of Esquire News at Cypress and Hind streets, in March 2015. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

You can expect to see more parklets in Pismo Beach in the future.

The city approved its parklet design standards this week, paving the way for more sponsored small park spaces throughout the city.

Pismo Beach installed its first parklet at the intersection of Hinds Avenue and Cypress Street in March 2015, as a pilot program to make the downtown area more appealing to pedestrians. The partially enclosed seating area, roughly the size of a parallel parking space, has been popular with downtown visitors, city officials say, and gives them more places to sit and relax.

Following overwhelming community support of the gathering space, the City Council in May directed staff to form a parklet program, and begin drafting rules for how the parks would look and where they can be located.

The City Council unanimously approved those new standards on Tuesday, simultaneously setting up a process for businesses and organizations to sponsor future parklets, rather than having them paid for by the city.

$10,000 to $30,000 How much a parklet can cost to be installed, depending on design and size.

Under the new guidelines, businesses can apply to the city building department to set up a parklet in front of their business, with the condition that the space must remain open to the public and not just for customers.

Parklet hosts are responsible for all construction, maintenance, permitting and parking-related costs. According to a city staff report, the cost of installing one of the small community spaces is between $10,000 and $30,000, depending on size and design, plus fees to recoup lost income to the city if the parking spaces to be occupied by parklets are paid spaces.

Nonprofit organizations can also sponsor parklets; the council voted to waive the paid parking fees for those organizations.

Potential parklet hosts would also have to prove that the project has support from property and business owners fronting the project, adjacent businesses, neighborhood organizations, and nearby residents and customers.

The City Council also decided that only four parklets will be allowed in the city at one time, including the existing parklet on Cypress Street. The parks can only be located along specific downtown stretches of Cypress Street, Price Street, Hinds Avenue and Pomeroy Avenue.

The Pismo Beach/Five Cities Rotary Club has already secured about $6,400 to establish a parklet as its annual community project, though a location for it has not yet been decided. Club president Joel Conn said he expects the parklet could be ready to be installed as soon as June.

“Our hope is that this parklet will be the first step in creating a more inviting downtown for the local community and that it may lead to others being created in Pismo Beach, thus benefiting the local businesses and community,” Conn wrote in a letter to the city.