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City of Tulsa Offers Faster Process for Restaurants to Set up Outdoor Dining Spaces

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The City of Tulsa has made it easier for restaurants to set up outdoor dining spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New ordinances will let them apply for a temporary sidewalk café or parklet permit through a simplified self-certification process. Downtown Coordinating Council Assistant Director Maggie Hoey said the goal is helping restaurants hurt by the pandemic bring back customers who are still leery of indoor settings.

"So, all of the same requirements that are outlined in the manual will still be followed. It’s just taking the review period and shifting it a little bit. So, we’re taking what’s been about a month on average review period and condensing that to a few days," Hoey said.

Tulsa Planning Office staff will still visit the sites to check for compliance with local regulations. Hoey said a parklet, which takes up on-street parking spaces, can be set up just about anywhere in the city restaurants are allowed by the zoning code.

"But it does have to be on a street with a speed limit under 25 mph," Hoey said.

Temporary sidewalk café and parklet permits are limited to 120 days unless the city council waives or extends that under a civil emergency declaration from the mayor.

The DCC is offering $10000 grants to businesses to buy furniture and materials for temporary outdoor spaces.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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