A large group of Coast Village Road merchants and landlords is imploring the Santa Barbara City Council to remove outdoor dining parklets along the main Montecito drag to free up much-needed parking. “The rationale for this is simple,” states a letter signed by 25 business and seven property owners. “The conditions that created parklets’ temporary existence, namely indoor dining restrictions, haven’t been present since June 15, 2021, and thus are no longer required.”
The group argues parking was extremely tight along Coast Village Road even before the pandemic, with the parklets — which have added 253 restaurant seats — now gobbling up 28 additional spaces, or approximately 20 percent of the area’s total. And unlike downtown Santa Barbara, Montecito doesn’t have the public parking structures to counteract the loss. The plan, they insist, was never sustainable.
Councilmember Kristen Sneddon, whose district encompasses Coast Village Road, agreed the letter made “very compelling arguments that demonstrate how and why parklets on Coast Village Road should be considered independently of the rest of the city and should be scaled back.” Sneddon said she’s heard from neighboring retailers and service businesses who have had a difficult time operating with the loss of parking in the limited corridor. “And even though there is some parking in the backs of some buildings,” she said, “the uphill steepness is just too much for some people.”