Work continues on State Street to allow stormwater runoff to flow beneath, around or through dining areas
About two-thirds of the 50 outdoor dining parklets inspected Friday by city staff did not have the changes necessary to allow stormwater runoff to flow beneath them, or around them, or through them, Santa Barbara officials said Tuesday.
As such, they missed last Thursday’s deadline for meeting that requirement.
“We inspected 50 outdoor business facilities between the 400 and 1300 blocks of State Street,” Sarah Clark, downtown plaza parking manager, told the News-Press. “Seventeen were fully compliant; 33 were not.
“They were given written Correction Notices with a five-day deadline to correct the violations.”
She said city staff will conduct follow-up inspections this week, most likely Thursday.
The updated design requirements, which require installation of a drainage channel, only apply to businesses on the 400-1300 blocks of State Street.
Despite the delay in making the required improvements, the downtown parklets apparently handled the recent rain “pretty well,” Ms. Clark said.
“We did see some very minor flooding on sidewalks near the business facilities that had not yet been modified to include a drainage channel,” she said. “At this point, it’s too early to tell whether the changes made a difference, because many of the facilities that have tended to cause the most backup during previous rain events have not yet been modified.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll see a lot more compliance during our next round of inspections.”
The Santa Barbara City Council’s goal in requiring the alterations was to allow stormwater runoff to flow freely down State Street.
Ms. Clark said she’s observed a number of State Street businesses making changes to their facilities to meet the stormwater requirements.
Some, she said, created drainage channels under their platforms in the gutter area, while at least one has removed their platform and created a portable enclosure on the street that allows water to freely flow during storms.
Parklets that were in operation as of Sept. 20 are not required to be made portable, so many of the existing facilities are not. Newly constructed parklets must be designed to be portable.
Staff has vowed that in the event of a big storm, any parklet that is not portable and blocks the flow of stormwater will be moved to ensure there is no flooding onto the sidewalks, and the owner will be billed for the expense.