Owners of The Patio restaurant group are hoping for approval from Civic San Diego of its application to build a 126-square-foot pedestrian plaza in front of its Harvest by the Patio eatery, at 369 10th Avenue (at J Street) in East Village. There are no parklets in that area currently.
Parklets started in the U.S. in San Francisco some years ago, and the first one probably wasn’t legal. Some residents took a parking space, and turned it into a tiny park with plants and seating. That idea caught on and has spread worldwide to many urban areas, including San Diego’s North Park and University Heights neighborhoods.
CivicSD assistant planner James Alexander explained the difference between sidewalk cafes and pedestrian plazas. “Sidewalk cafes are when tables and chairs are placed in the public right-of-way on the sidewalk; pedestrian plazas (a fairly new addition to the San Diego Municipal Code) are public seating/spaces in vehicular areas of the public right-of-way.”
Pedestrian plazas require a neighborhood development permit from CivicSD, which costs $1,421. Although it would be in the street, Alexander said that “we are not losing a space here, because it is being placed in an existing red zone.”
While a decision was expected last week, there’s been a delay, according to Alexander. “We received some comments from neighbors and the Padres expressing concerns about safety with traffic on that street, Tenth Avenue, during game days,” said Alexander. “Civic San Diego has been waiting on making a decision in order to consult other City departments about these safety concerns. The delay has also allowed the Applicant to submit for concurrent building permit processing...so that the final permit reflects the final design of the pedestrian plaza.”
An email from Julia Baker, director of marketing/food and beverage at American National Investments, said: “The Patio Restaurant Group strives to create a positive experience for all of our guests through outstanding food, service, and ambiance. We have just entered the beginning stages of planning an outdoor dining experience for Harvest. As of right now, we do not have an estimate on cost, or a time frame to provide.”
705 16th Street, East Village
The only other parklet downtown is located in front of Moniker Warehouse, at 16th and G streets. Moniker Warehouse is an ongoing, multipurpose arts and creative center, and an events venue at night.
Harvest’s pedestrian plaza was designed by Lahaina Architects, which also designed The Patio on Lamont in Pacific Beach, and The Patio on Goldfinch in Mission Hills. Their other many projects include ArcLight Cinemas and the SDSU Tennis Facility.
East Village is mostly park-deprived. But in East Village there is the much-larger Park at the Park, adjacent to Petco Park. When games are not going on, the Park at the Park is free to all.