COVID-19 PANDEMIC PROGRAM ENDING
The COVID-19 Temporary Expansion of Restaurant Seating / Expansion of Premises initiative was adopted in 2020 and has allowed businesses to use City-owned property to operate their businesses as part of an emergency response to the pandemic. This initiative has been a critical part of Tucson’s response strategy to sustain the locally-owned small business sector in Tucson, and to meet the increased demands for outdoor dining and outdoor community gathering spaces in Tucson. Due to its popularity, this pandemic program is transitioning into an ongoing program.
Any installations done under this program will either need to be removed, or be officially approved with a new permit or Temporary Revocable Easement (TRE). In order for installations that were approved during the pandemic to remain in place, they must be re-permitted and deemed Code compliant by the City by December 31, 2023.
Do you need to do anything?
City of Tucson staff are available to assist businesses with their desired transition. For those wishing to keep their installations, applications are required, and it may take three to four months for the review processes to reach approval. Keep reading to learn what may apply to you.
Businesses with a Streatery
Figure 1.El Charro Platform Streatery Figure 2. Bombole Sidewalk Cafe
Expanded Seating in the Public Right of Way
Business owners that obtained a Temporary Expansion of Premises (TEOP) TRE between March 2020 and January 2023 are required to transition to a new longer-term TRE that will renew annually, or remove their installations. To apply to stay in place, a site plan demonstrating the proposed location of the outdoor seating will need to be submitted and review for compliance completed with applicable fire and accessibility codes. The draft Tucson Shared Spaces Manual (v20210730) can help provide guidance on what to include in your site plan submittal.
More information regarding seating on Right-of-Way sites:
Benjamin Elias, Lead Planner, Department of Transportation & Mobility, email@example.com, 520.508.4321
Patio Seating Expansions
Figure 3. Prep & Pastry Patio Expansion
Expanded Seating on Private Property
Business and property owners that installed seating on private property between March 2020 and January 2023 must submit a site plan demonstrating the proposed location of permanent outdoor seating, which would be reviewed for compliance with zoning and applicable codes. A recent update to the City’s Unified Development Code (UDC) allows restaurants and bars to apply for an Individual Parking Plan (IPP) to reduce required parking if needed. If proven to meet certain findings, businesses may be able to reduce the number of parking spaces required by code on their site, which may support a more permanent outdoor seating design.
More information for private property sites and patio expansions on private property: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/pdsd/zoning-administration-applications#IPP
Mark Castro, Principal Planner, Planning and Development Services Department, firstname.lastname@example.org, 520.837.4979
We live in a city with a limited number of neighborhood parks.
Parklets provide valuable privately-funded and privately-maintained public spaces for people to read, play, and socialize. Parklets convert on-street parking spaces into community gathering places, creating more vibrant commercial districts.
Streateries are a new way to support these goals while also responding to the demand for more outdoor café seating in Tucson, particularly in areas where sidewalks are too narrow for sidewalk cafés.
Pop-up Parklets or Streateries are very temporary in nature, typically put in place for short durations of time for special events.
While Shared Spaces may take on different forms in the future, the City of Tucson is currently focused on the following applications:
Pop-Up Parklet or Streatery
On August 10, 2021, Tucson’s Mayor and Council approved a Resolution allowing businesses to begin using a draft manual to prepare their applications for “streateries.” As the title indicates, streateries are installations of seating on or near a street, typically in support of a commercial business, such as a restaurant or bar. The manual explains things that must be considered when designing a streatery, how to put together a conceptual site plan for review with City staff, and how to provide technical drawings as submittals.
The draft Tucson Shared Spaces Manual (v20210730) is currently being revised to include better instructions on how to apply, and changes based on what was learned during the pandemic.