Carpinteria City Council voted to close a section of Linden Avenue for one month.
Linden Avenue between Sixth Street and Seventh Street and between Seventh Street and Eighth Street will be closed from Aug. 10 to Sept. 8. The city will allow local businesses located adjacent to Linden Avenue to use the street space to operate their businesses outdoors during that time.
The city closed the 800 block of Linden Avenue over Fourth of July Weekend and set up an outdoor dining area.
According to a city council agenda report, Carpinteria is in a local state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In March, Governor Gavin Newsom and California Department of Public Health officials recommended “non-essential gatherings” be postponed or cancelled. Governor Newsom implemented social distancing guidelines in order to slow the spread of the virus, particularly among the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
On May 8, County Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg pulled back some COVID-19 restrictions in accordance with relaxed state guidelines and allowed more essential and low-risk businesses to reopen with limited operations.
On May 21, the county allowed more businesses to reopen with fewer restrictions, as long as they reopened in compliance with a self-certification program.
When COVID-19 cases increased in June, county health officials brought back some regulations, but restaurants were allowed to remain open for outdoor food service and in July personal care services were also allowed to operate outdoors.
The agenda report notes that many Carpinteria businesses have limited outdoor space to expand their operations.
The city offered two special permit options for restaurants looking to expand their operations to private outdoor property and into the public right of way. The report admits that not all businesses will be able to take advantage of those options because of site limitations such as sidewalk width.
A city council recovery committee asked its staff to explore options for closing Linden Avenue and to survey local businesses for feedback.
The survey responses found 12 of 24 respondent businesses wanted Linden Avenue to close and 10 businesses claimed they will likely use the outdoor space.
On July 21, staff presented the council two road closure options. Staff recommended the Linden Avenue closure from Carpinteria Avenue to Sixth Street, but the council deviated from that recommendation because of feedback from business owners.
The closure will be a “hard closure” with no opportunity for vehicle traffic on Linden Avenue; however, cross streets will remain open. Emergency services, delivery vehicles and trash services must cross streets or alleyways for emergency and delivery services.
“I personally am not in favor of it. I think it’s just gonna take away parking,” Homestead Antiques & Trading Co. owner Mary Beth Radley said. She explained that her antique store will suffer from the loss of its curbside parking spots on the street.
“I feel like that is more of a nighttime thing. I have more of a daytime business. I can see how that would be helpful for restaurants,” Ms. Radley said.
Pacific Health Foods owner Nathan Noll added that the street closure could complicate deliveries and make it harder for people to take their groceries to their cars. Pacific Health Foods is located at 944 Linden Ave.
“What I told the city was I hope they do it like they did on State Street, where they leave the cross streets open as opposed to blocking off four straight blocks. It makes it difficult for people to be able to park and do their shopping. With one of our parking lots shut down, parking is already limited,” Mr. Noll said.