News

                                        

Outdoor Dining: Streamlining the Permit Process

The City of Mill Valley is simplifying the process to allow business owners to temporarily expand their operations outdoors into spaces adjacent to their place of business. The temporary outdoor dining and outdoor business activity program will allow local restaurants and businesses to use outdoor spaces to expand their operations and to resume operations in compliance with social distancing requirements. Specifically, this program authorizes the City Manager to establish standards that allow restaurants and other businesses to temporarily operate in a safe, expanded outdoor capacity in the public right-of-way throughout the City, the Downtown Plaza, and private areas adjacent to their place of business. It also gives the City Manager flexibility to close portions of streets to allow greater pedestrian access, as described below.

To download the application click here.

Guide for Temporary Outdoor Business Use

The City of Mill Valley is simplifying the process to allow business owners to temporarily expand their operations outdoors into spaces adjacent to their place of business. The temporary outdoor dining and outdoor business activity program will allow local restaurants and businesses to use outdoor spaces to expand their operations and to resume operations in compliance with social distancing requirements. Specifically, this program authorizes the City Manager to establish standards that allow restaurants and other businesses to temporarily operate in a safe, expanded outdoor capacity in the public right-of-way throughout the City, the Downtown Plaza, and private areas adjacent to their place of business. It also gives the City Manager flexibility to close portions of streets to allow greater pedestrian access, as described below.

Right-of-Way Agreements for Temporary Outdoor Uses. These agreements allow restaurants and other businesses to temporarily provide or expand outdoor dining seating or business activity in portions of the public right-of-way, in the areas designated by and at the discretion of City Manager, upon execution of a Temporary Outdoor Use Right-of-Way Agreement with the City. This temporary program will supplement, and be in addition to, any permanent outdoor dining areas or spaces currently permitted under the Mill Valley Municipal Code or an applicable conditional use permit.

These agreements will authorize businesses to temporarily use sidewalk space or parking spaces adjacent to the place of business for activities such as temporary expanded outdoor dining. The agreements will be revocable and subject to compliance with operational and safety provisions provided by the City Manager or their designee, applicable State and County heath orders, applicable regulations of the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control, and in compliance with the Americans Disability Act. The agreements will also contain provisions providing protection for the City, requiring the parties to carry insurance, indemnify the City, and cover the cost of any damage to City property. The agreements have a term of no more than 120 days, which could be extended by the City. There will be no fee for entering into these agreements.

Temporary Outdoor Use Permit. These permits allow restaurants and other businesses to temporarily provide or expand outdoor dining seating on private outdoor property, such as parking lots, in addition to the outdoor dining spaces currently permitted for restaurants under the Mill Valley Municipal Code or an applicable conditional use permit. The City Manager is authorized to create applications and documentation for the Temporary Outdoor Use Permit application.

Such permits will be revocable and only authorize temporary limited use of outdoor areas and will be subject to compliance with operational and safety provisions provided by the City Manager or their designee, applicable State and County heath orders, applicable regulations of the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control, and other relevant laws like the Americans Disability Act.

Provided these conditions are met, permittees will be temporarily exempt from the minimum parking requirements specified in the Mill Valley Municipal Code or in a previously granted entitlement, for the duration of the term of the Permit. If the applicant intends to use a shared private parking lot for expanded outdoor use, the applicant will need to obtain written consent from other parties with whom the parking lot is shared. There is no proposed application fee required for this Permit.

Downtown Plaza. The use of the Downtown Plaza is governed by Chapter 8.37, entitled “Downtown Plaza,” of the Mill Valley Municipal Code. The restrictions therein prevent the Plaza from being used to allow expanded outdoor business activity on designated public spaces. These requirements will be temporarily suspended and authorize the City Manager to enter into a Temporary Outdoor Use Agreement to allow downtown businesses, including restaurants, to use the Downtown Plaza for expanded operations in order to comply with social distancing requirements. Such agreements will authorize the revocable and limited use of a portion of the Downtown Plaza, subject to compliance with operational and safety provisions provided by the City Manager or their designee, applicable State and County heath orders, applicable regulations of the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control, and compliance with the Americans Disability Act. There will be no fee for entering into these agreements.

Temporary Closure of Certain Streets. To provide additional potential temporary outdoor space for restaurant dining or other business activity, the City could temporary close portions of certain streets for special events and allow businesses to temporarily operate in the street in compliance with social distancing requirements.

City Staff has proposed potentially allowing for the closure of portions of the following streets for such special events:

• Miller Avenue

• Sunnyside Avenue

• Throckmorton Avenue

Application Process:

The Planning Department will be primarily responsible for overseeing applications for the above referenced Temporary Outdoor Uses. The process will start with an initial application and supporting documents. The Planning Department will coordinate with Public Works, Fire and Police Departments to review the proposed project plans. If additions or adjustments to the project plan are necessary, then feedback will be provided to the applicant to address any changes for technical compliance. The project may require a Building Permit and/or Encroachment Permit as appropriate.

Fees:

Fees for Temporary Outdoor Use Permits and Agreements and Temporary Right-of-Way Agreements have been waived for the time being.

Note: A Building Permit will be required to build the On-Street Dining project, and the cost to apply for the Building Permit is not waived. If you would like an estimate of the Building Permit fees, please estimate the total valuation for the project and contact the Planning and Building Department at (415) 388-4033. The Planning and Building Department can answer any additional questions related to applying for a Building Permit.

Comments from Neighboring Interests:

If seeking to use shared private property (e.g., shared parking lot), an applicant must provide upon submission of the permit application written consent from property owner and other parties with whom the property is shared, such as other tenants with common use of private property. Such written consent should include: date, name, relationship (business owner or property owner), their business/property address, references to approval of the proposed intended use, and signature. It is strongly encouraged that applicants contact business/property owners as soon as feasible to obtain this consent

For all other proposed uses, letters of support obtained by the applicant are highly encouraged from nearby business owners, residents, and other stakeholder groups. Approval from each adjacent tenant business and/or property owner is not required to approve the Temporary Outdoor Use application, unless the application is for a Temporary Use Permit for the expanded use of shared private Property, in which case owners of the property and those with whom the property is shared must provide written consent upon the application.

It is strongly encouraged that applicants contact business/property owners as soon as practical on to ensure their feedback is received and considered before fully designing the project. Approval and/or comments from adjacent business and/or property owners in the form of a letter or email should include:

  • Date
  • Name
  • Relationship (business owner or property owner)
  • Their business/property address
  • References to the temporary outdoor use proposal
  • Comments and/or approval regarding the temporary outdoor use project
  • Signature

Insurance Requirements:

Applicants must provide a Certificate of General Liability Insurance in the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000) naming as additional insured, “The City of Mill Valley, its elected or appointed officials, boards, agencies, officers, agents, employees and volunteers” for the purposes of the temporary outdoor use permit, and must carry Worker’s Compensation insurance in limits as required by the Labor Code of the State of California.

Required Forms and Documents:

  • Statement of Intended Use describing proposed area of use, outdoor use, food and beverage service, hours of operation. Please indicate if the temporary outdoor use sought is one of the following categories: (i) expanded use of adjacent private spaces (e.g., private parking lots), (ii) use of portion of adjacent public right-of-way (e.g., sidewalks, parklets), and (iii) use of portion of other public spaces (e.g., Depot Plaza).
  • City of Mill Valley Business License
  • ABC License (if alcohol is served) and evidence of adequate liquor liability insurance for proposed operations.
  • Certificate of Insurance (add City of Mill Valley)
  • Written Consent of Property Owner/Tenants Sharing Space (shared private property owners)
  • Site Plan Diagram (8.5”x11”)
  • Photographs (proposed location)
  • Other materials as determined by the City Manager