Belmont Shore is set to get its first permanent outdoor dining parklet after the City Council gave final approval for popular Legends Sports Bar to construct a 300-square-foot patio on the street just outside its front doors.

The application had been making its way through a lengthy approval process since early 2023. The final hurdle came Tuesday because of a tweak to the city’s parklet rules that now require City Council approval if a project faces opposition as the Legends one does.

City documents showed that dozens of people sent emails asking the City Council to block the project, and more turned out in person Tuesday imploring the council to block it.

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A contingent of Belmont Shore residents has vocally opposed outdoor dining installations because they take up parking spaces along the busy Second Street corridor. They also say they’re concerned about pedestrian safety and dining parklets blocking sidewalks or creating hazards for people with disabilities.

Estella Tijidor, a resident of Belmont Shore, explained that new accessory dwelling units and a popular short-term rental on her street already make it difficult for her to find a space to park on her block.

“Once the parklets come, I won’t be able to park on my street at all,” she said.

Another resident, Michelle Simon, questioned if it was fair for some businesses to benefit by building dining areas on valuable public property and echoed concerns about parking.

“Nobody is against Legends, we all love our small businesses, but there are other factors to consider,” she said.

Under the city’s parklet ordinance, the spaces are considered public and people will not be required to purchase goods from businesses in order to use them.

The Legends parklet will have space for about 20 people to sit. It would take up two parking spaces in front of the business.

Supporters of Legends’ proposal pointed to other areas like Fourth Street’s Retro Row, which is also in a parking-impacted area. Nevertheless, it has several parklets along its business corridor. David Lake, who also lives in Belmont Shore, said he was a big supporter of the project and Legends.

“They contribute so much to the street life of Second Street, which was a joy when we had them in full operation,” Lake said, referring to the temporary parklets put up across the city during the pandemic.

In addition to parklets adding to the parking equation, the city is in the process of changing the parking layout along Second Street. It plans to remove more than 50 of the two-hour metered parking spaces along and convert them to shorter-term spaces and loading zones.

It’s partially in response to the problem of delivery trucks blocking bus stops when drivers park to unload goods for businesses. Those loading spaces would become available for non-delivery vehicles in the afternoon, according to Public Works’ proposed plan.

After the city required businesses to take down COVID-19-era temporary parklets in 2022 the city conducted a study to show where permanent parklets could be built. The permanent structures wouldn’t be allowed to block public utilities, but the city report showed dozens of workable locations across the city, including about 20 in Belmont Shore.

As of November, 14 businesses had applied for parklets on Second Street including Open Sesame and Aroma Di Roma, which both have already won preliminary approval.

Supply and Demand’s proposed parklet will be installed on Stanley Avenue taking up two parking spaces. Photo by Jason Ruiz

The permanent parklets are approved on a one-year basis, after which business owners will have to reapply. The city could deny those applications if the locations are problematic.

Along with the Legends parklet, the city also approved a parklet for the bar and music venue Supply and Demand, which is on the corner of Anaheim Street and Stanley Avenue.

The bar’s owners said they’ve seen a 30% dip in sales since their temporary parklet was removed.

Their proposal faced similar complaints as Legends’ with residents saying the parklet would take away valuable parking spaces in an area where it can be scarce.

The Supply and Demand parklet is planned to be about 189 square feet and includes two 8-foot benches that will bolted to the ground. The 31-foot-long parklet would take up roughly two parking spaces on Stanley Avenue.

“It really means a lot to our business, we’re coming off the pandemic, and we’re still on the struggle bus a little bit,” said Kevin Norton, one of the co-owners of Supply and Demand.

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.