The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Burlingame tightens parklet regulations

Justine Desmidt
A group sits down for dinner in a parklet in Downtown Burlingame. To adhere with new guidelines from the city, the roof of the parklet will have to be taken down by June 1, breaking away from a pandemic-era trend.

As of June 30, Burlingame restaurants will not be authorized to build new parklets, according to a draft ordinance. Any establishment with a current parklet, if choosing to keep it, will have until June 1 to accommodate the new restrictions.

Although the change has yet to be finalized, Burlingame Mayor Donna Colson says that she sees it happening in the future in hopes of reducing the number of parklets. 

“Most of the council members were agreeing with her. She also sounded very definitive and started listing all the rules and regulations that she was thinking of setting in place to fix this issue, so it definitely sounded like these are going to be definite,” Crepevine Owner Maher Fakhouri said. Fakhouri attended the Burlingame Economic Development Subcommittee Special Meeting on April 10, where Mayor Colson spoke about these upcoming parklet changes.

While the first one was opened in 2005 in San Francisco, parklets gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. As health officials and governments advised against indoor gatherings, parklets became a good solution for restaurants and businesses to accomodate more seating while simultaneously adhering to ongoing health restrictions of the time. However, many of these parklets have remained in the post-pandemic era, offering an outdoor dining option to customers.

Restaurants that choose keep their parklets will be required to make several changes to adhere to Burlingame’s new rules. Such regulations include the removal of all roofing or tarping, electrical lines, cords, and gas piping attached to the parklets. Additionally, structural elements will not be allowed to extend beyond the top of the walls to allow for better visibility. An application fee of $1,801 will be charged for any application, and annual checks will be performed to ensure all requirements are met. 

With these new regulations, the city of Burlingame hopes several establishments will remove their existing parklets, reducing the amount of parklets overall.

The primary reason behind the change is the depletion of parking spaces that parklets cause. On downtown Burlingame Avenue and in the Broadway Commercial District, there are currently 30 parklets occupying 63 parking spaces. 

“I came to eat lunch here at 11:30, and by the time my husband and I found a parking spot and walked back here, it was about 11:40,” said Mathilda Cron, a Crepevine customer.

This lack of parking space can be time-consuming and irritating for customers and store owners alike.

“It is really frustrating when a customer comes in 20 minutes late because they couldn’t find a parking spot. It puts them in a bad mood and messes up our whole schedule at the same time,” said Marianne Piano, an employee at Geneve Jewelers.

Increasing the amount of customers able to eat at a given location, parklets proved useful to businesses in maintaining success amidst the pandemic.

“We set up a couple of tables and chairs outside so that we could get a couple more customers to eat out while staying safe,” Fakhouri said.

However, parklets are decreasing in use now that restaurants are open inside again. People are more comfortable sitting and eating inside rather than outside.

“It’s always a bit noisy out loud. Plus, it’s usually pretty cold and windy. This is the first time in a while I’ve eaten outside at a restaurant because the weather’s finally warming up a bit,” Cron said.

With fewer people using parklets and increased parking issues, the city of Burlingame and Mayor Colson don’t find it efficient for all restaurants to keep their parklets.

“I definitely understand why they are making this change and I think it will have many benefits for Burlingame,” Cron said.

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About the Contributor
Justine Desmidt
Justine Desmidt, Staff Writer
Justine Desmidt (Class of 2026) is a staff writer and a sophomore at Carlmont High School. In her free time, she enjoys playing basketball, listening to music, and spending time with her friends.

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