Restaurants able to expand outdoor seating with new permit

Tucson restaurants plan for outdoor dining

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Temporary outdoor seating will now be allowed for restaurants who qualify in Tucson.

In response to COVID-19 and the need to support the ability for businesses to provide space for social distancing, restaurants can expand areas for customer seating to nearby areas such as parking areas, sidewalks, and landscaping areas, so long as the business meets all ADA accessibility requirements.

One business that has already jumped on the opportunity is Penca on Broadway.

The owner, Patricia Schwabe said they have been closed since March and the take-out option didn't work with the style of their restaurant.

“The vision and the joy of the restaurant is to see your guests enjoying themselves and sitting close to the bar and maybe meeting someone from out of town,” said Schwabe.

So in order to make health and hospitality a priority, she’s expanding to outdoor seating on the sidewalk, thanks to a Temporary Revocable Easements or TRE from the City.

Blueprint for restaurants able to expand outdoor seating with new permit
Blueprint for restaurants able to expand outdoor seating with new permit (Source: KOLD)

The idea stemmed from Tucson City Council Member Steve Kozachik who had previously asked City Planning members and the City Manager about possibly shutting down some street and expanding seating areas for downtown restaurants.

“We need to help them achieve safe seating or we may be losing some of them due to simple math – too many expenses vs too few revenues.” said Kozachik in his newsletter.

There are a few unique challenges in the area, like the street car. Matlick said are looking at the possibility of utilizing only one track to open up more sidewalk space. Kozachik said they are also looking at potentially shutting down a few blocks at a time as well, similar to what happens for the Fords on Fourth event.

President Daniel Matlick of the Merchants Association said they are working to get TRE's to their business owners, both restaurant and retail.

There are a few unique challenges in the area, like the street car. Matlick said are looking at the possibility of utilizing only one track to open up more sidewalk space.

"What that allows us to do on 4th ave is actually run the street car up and down north and south on one side of the street," said Matlick.

Despite the added cost to expand, Schwabe said it will be well worth every penny.

Anything to get her doors back open, customers back in, and now, out front.

“I think it’s just going to bring joy to the guests and it’s definitely going to bring joy to us to provide that again,” said Schwabe.

For more on the TRE click HERE.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.