Parklet Program

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WHAT'S A PARKLET?

“Parklet” refers to an outdoor temporary curb extension area that includes a small seating or community gathering area or bicycle parking area temporarily constructed over street parking space(s).

The purpose of a parklet is to create a safe, comfortable, and inviting pedestrian experience for the general public.

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MINOR ENCROACHMENT PERMIT

Installation and operation of a Parklet on City streets requires an encroachment permit and will only be permitted on streets with speed limits of twenty-five miles per hour or lower in commercial or business areas. 

Permits will be issued by the Public Works & Utilities Department: 831-768-3100 publicworks@cityofwatsonville.org   

CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS*

Location:

  1. The parklet area must be located at least one parking space or twenty feet from any corner and 10 feet from any driveway
  2. The parklet shall not be located in front of a fire hydrant, above a fire hydrant shut-off valve or over utility or manhole covers.
  3. The structure shall not impede the flow of curbside drainage and shall not be constructed over a storm drain.
  4. The parklet shall not replace blue zones designated for disabled parking.
  5. Parklets shall not be located in red zones or in front of bus stops

Design Elements:

  • The parklet shall not be more than six feet wide and shall provide four foot setbacks from each parking tees 
  • The parklet length may consist of up to two parking spaces maximum per business and the parking spaces shall be located adjacent to the front of the business.
  • Reflective elements and Soft hit posts are required at the outside corners of the parklet structure.
  • Parklets should include permanent or movable seating and/ or bicycle parking/ racks.
  • The parklet area shall provide all features necessary to comply with current American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
  • The platform surface shall be flush with the grade of the adjacent sidewalk with a maximum horizontal gap of one-half inch.
  • Bolting or penetrating the surface of the roadway in any way shall not be permitted.
  • Parklet must be closed off to pedestrians on 3 sides and open to the sidewalk side only with multiple entry points.
  • The edges/railings shall be spaced appropriately to allow for the ability to see inside the extension area during all hours.
  • The edges/railings shall be designed to discourage sitting on railings.
  • The top edge of the extension area edges/railings shall be round to prevent the resting of food and drinks.
  • The exterior edge/railing shall be a minimum of thirty inches tall. 
  • Overhead elements (such as umbrellas) shall provide a minimum vertical clearance of eighty-four inches above grade and shall not obstruct any traffic control devices or signs.
  • There shall be no electrical fixtures or features within the extension area. All lighting must and originate from the associated business and maintain consistent/ steady level of lighting; Lighting may not shine into the street or otherwise interfere with vehicular travel.
  • Signage or other advertising matter is not permitted to be installed on or within the parklet. Sandwich board signs are prohibited at all times.
  • No heating elements (such as gas or propane patio heaters) are allowed.
  • Landscaping elements shall include low water use plants.

Operations and Maintenance

  • Movable furniture (i.e. tables, chairs, umbrellas, etc.) and equipment shall either be removed from parklet area during non-business hours.
  • Parklet area shall be maintained in good condition by applicant of permit.
  • Landscaping shall be kept in good health; any dead or dying plants should be promptly removed and replaced.
  • Smoking is not permitted within parklet
  • Outdoor entertainment is not permitted within parklet
  • Retail sales are not permitted in parklet

PARKLET GUIDANCE

Eligible Applicants

Persons or Entities:

  1. Fronting ground floor business owner or operator, or
  2. Fronting Property Owner
Eligible Locations

Parklets shall be limited to areas fronting commercial and business uses on streets with speed limits 25 MPH or below.

Allowed Uses
  • Bicycle parking 
  • Public seating
  • Outdoor dining
Prohibited Uses
  • Advertising
  • Amplified Sound
  • Consumption of Alcohol except in conjunction with public eating establishment with a valid ABC license
  • Retail sales
  • Smoking
  • Storage of Materials
Hours of Operation

Parklet shall be utilized for private use by applicant during permittee’s business hours and for public use before and after permittee’s business hours.

Temporary Use Term

Initial temporary use term is for one year.  Extension beyond one year can be considered; City review and approval is required.

Location & Design Criteria

See Construction Standards* and also refer to Figure 1 “Site Plan Example” - Parklet Application Process

For any questions, please contact the Public Works & Utilities Department: publicworks@cityofwatsonville.org  831-768-3100 

PARKLET APPLICATION PROCESS

1)  Submit Initial Application 

a)  Site Plan: See Figure 1. Site Plan Example. Include as much detail as possible including all dimensions, building entrances, tree locations, utility boxes, etc.

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b)   Show and list elements proposed within the Parklet including tables, chairs, planter boxes, etc.       

c)   Proposed Purpose: Describe in detail how the Parklet is proposed to be used and hours of operation.

d) Consent Letters: Each applicant is responsible for conducting outreach to neighbors in the development of the proposed parklet prior to submitting application package.   Outreach shall include neighbors, owners and tenants adjacent to the subject property.  Documentation of support in the form of a letter, petition or e-mail is to be provided.  

Applicant shall submit consent/ support from:

  • Direct neighbors/ businesses
  • Property Owner, if the applicant is the owner or operator of the business
  • Fronting Business owner or operator, if the applicant is the property owner

e)  Application Fee: (Waived during COVID-19)

2)  INITIAL APPLICATION REVIEW

Public Works and Utilities Department (PW&U) will coordinate review of the application to ensure that the proposed Parklet meets program intent.  City staff will review each complete application using the following criteria:

  1. Parklet is supported by surrounding community
  2. Parklet meets established location and design parameters.
  3. Fronting business is in good standing without significant community complaints, violations or citations.

If the initial application meets above criteria, PW&U will notify applicant regarding Public Notice Period. 

If the initial application DOES NOT meet the above criteria, the applicant will be notified.  If the plans can be revised, the applicant will be given 10 days to resubmit.

 3)   PUBLIC NOTICE PERIOD 

The PW&U will issue a “Notice of Application for a Parklet” (“Notice”) to the Applicant.   The Notice shall be posted by the applicant in a readily visible location in front of the business where the Parklet is proposed for ten (10) calendar days.  The purpose of the Notice is to provide the public opportunity to express its support for or opposition to the application.  If no objection is registered, the initial application will be accepted for the Parklet Program.

             OBJECTIONS RAISED DURING PUBLIC NOTICE PERIOD

a) If the City receives objections during the Public Notice Period, it will coordinate with the parties to determine if there are feasible alternatives to make the Parklet acceptable.

b) If objections can not be resolved, the City Engineer will make final determination on the application based upon the proposal, expressed concerns and overall benefit. 

c)  If City Engineer rejects application, the applicant may appeal the decision to the City Administration.

4)  SUBMITTTAL OF PARKLET PLANS AND DOCUMENTS

After Initial Acceptance, applicant will be instructed to submit a fully detailed site plan that including elevations and cross sections prepared by a licensed professional engineer/architect.  PW&U staff will work with applicant in a collaborative fashion to ensure Parklet design is appropriate and final drawings produced meet regulation requirements.  Parklet Plans shall include the following:

AddressElevationsConstruction Details*
Location MapCross sectionsAccessibility Plan
Plan VIewStructural DesignOther items as determined by City Engineer

*Applicants may utilize prefabricated /manufactured parklets that are available

Applicant shall submit the following documents:

a) Insurances

  1. Applicants Insurance (Parklet Use): $1,000,000 General Liability naming City of Watsonville as additional Insured
  2. Contractor’s Insurance (Construction): $1,000,00 each for General Liability, Automobile Liability and Worker’s Compensation& Employer’s liability.  City of Watsonville shall be named as additional insured. 

b)  Maintenance Plan

Submit plan describing maintenance activities to keep Parklet clean and inviting for the community.  The plan should address maintenance, repair and/or replacement of the Parklet deck, furniture (built in and or moveable), plants and surrounding pavement as well as graffiti abatements and pest control.

5) CITY APPROVAL OF PLANS

PW&U will coordinate with Community Development Department to review the plans.  Applicants may receive additional comments which will need to be incorporated into the final plan prior to permit approval.  Revisions and resubmittals may be required.  When application satisfies all Parklet requirements and pays any necessary fee, PW&U will grant final approval and issue Encroachment Permit for Parklet.

6) CONSTRUCTION OF PARKLET

 Upon issuance of permit and as a condition of permit approval, the permittee is required to inform PW&U no less than 5 days before beginning any site work.  Once installation is completed, PW&U will perform final inspection and acceptance.

7) MONITORING AND COMPLIANCE

It is the responsibility of the permittee to ensure the Parklet remains in compliance with the conditions of its permit at all times.   Regular maintenance activities should be performed per the required maintenance plan for the Parklet. The area should be kept clean and inviting for members of the public.

For any questions, please contact the Public Works & Utilities Department: 831-768-3100 publicworks@cityofwatsonville.org 

Please note:  Parklets proposed along SR 152 or SR 129 require Caltrans approval.   PW&U staff will work with applicant in these instances.