'Doesn't make any sense': Pleasanton forces restaurants to take down parklets for street cleaning

Owners say they have to pay to take down the parklet, pay to store it, and then pay to rebuild it.

ByRyan Curry KGO logo
Saturday, January 8, 2022
Pleasanton forces restaurant owners to take down parklets
Pleasanton is forcing restaurant owners on Main Street to take down their parklets. The owners fear this will massively hurt their businesses.

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- The City of Pleasanton is forcing restaurant owners on Main Street to take down their parklets. The city says they need to do necessary street maintenance that hasn't been done in two years. However, restaurant owners fear this will massively hurt their business.

"When making reservations, people ask if we have outdoor dining," said Maurice Dissels, the owner of Oyo. "If we have limited outdoor dining or none at all, people don't make that reservation."

COVID-19 cases are surging across the Bay Area due to the omicron variant. Dissels, like many other restaurant owners, heavily rely on the parklets to keep his restaurant afloat during the pandemic.

"We are dealing with a lot of COVID right now," he said. "We don't know what will happen next. We have indoor dining, but many aren't comfortable with that. If they force us to close indoor dining, that will put us in a difficult spot."

The city's plan is to have restaurants take down the parklets and do street cleaning and maintenance. The restaurants will be allowed to rebuild their parklets in the spring that follows a new city code. However, the other factor is cost.

VIDEO: Car traffic to return to downtown SJ street as some outdoor dining ends

By Tuesday, the stretch of Post Street in downtown San Jose was nearly empty. It is soon-to-be cleared completely for the return of car traffic.

The city currently does not have a grant fund to help restaurants, and owners say the parklets are expensive to build.

"We spent around $12,000 on our parklet," said Raj Judge, the owner of Beer Baron. "We made sure it was safe. It is actually a better model than the one the city put out, but they still want us to take it down."

Owners say they have to pay to take down the parklet, and pay to rebuild it.

"It really doesn't make any sense," Judge said. "I have to pay to break this down, then I got to ship it somewhere, pay for a storage area, then a month and a half later they want us to rebuild it again."

The City Council still went through with the plan this week. Julie Testa was the one councilmember who voted to postpone the cleaning.

RELATED: Some Bay Area restaurants temporarily closing for months over COVID surge

"We did discuss it this week," she said. "The decision to redo was really a reset. I think it would have flowed better had this spike not hit in such a significant way."

Restaurant owners want the city to help them finance the rebuild for their parklets. Testa says it is something they need to explore.

"There is a possibility there can be some remaining funds that can come back in the form of grants," she said. "That is going to be a future discussion we will have."