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San Francisco to waive thousands of dollars of curbside parklet fees

Madison Smith, Cecily Doonan and Emily Bengle sit at Anina’s parklet on Hayes Street in San Francisco on Oct. 13, 2022. | Source: Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

Small businesses in San Francisco might not have to pay expensive permit fees for their curbside parklets after city supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to curtail fees for Shared Spaces.

The passed legislation will waive all permit fees for parklets approved before June 2024. Introduced by Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, the waiver comes after small businesses expressed concerns that parklet permit fees could cost upwards of $10,000.

READ MORE: San Francisco Walks Back Plan To Rip Out Restaurant Parklets

In 2020, businesses started utilizing parking lanes to create outdoor seating and merchandising under the Shared Spaces program—a pandemic-era solution for businesses to stay open amid policies that sought to limit indoor crowds.

The program drew in nearly 2,900 applicants, 600 of which applied for permanent parklet structures after Covid policies loosened, according to city data.

As businesses began to consider parklets as a permanent element of their storefronts rather than a temporary fix, the Shared Spaces program has also shifted gears, which included the proposed fees.

Safaí said that these parklets not only boost business for small shops but also add “vibrancy and livability” to the city.

“Small businesses will get to reinvest this money back into their staff, keeping their business going and improving the neighborhood environment,” Safaí said on Twitter.

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