May 30, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel’s AB 1217 Could Help Local Restaurants Avoid Costly Permitting Fees

Legislation would preempt local ordinances and preserve regulatory flexibility for struggling neighborhood restaurants

By Sam Catanzaro

A new bill proposed by California Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) could offer relief to restaurants struggling to maintain outdoor dining amid new fees being imposed and proposed by municipalities including Santa Monica and Los Angeles. 

“Neighborhood restaurants are the backbone of communities across California, but too many are barely hanging on by a thread,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel. “Outdoor dining has been a critical lifeline that has helped these beloved establishments keep their doors open during these challenging times.”

Assembly Bill 1217 would extend the benefits of state and local programs, such as L.A. Al Fresco, which streamlined the application process and waived fees for restaurants and bars that had to move dining outside due to indoor seating restrictions. The proposed bill would supersede city and county ordinances that require new permit applications and fees for restaurants hoping to maintain their Al Fresco program setups, offering much-needed relief to the industry.

“Outdoor dining has become an important lifeline for restaurants, and it’s something that we have all come to love and enjoy,” stated Madelyn Alfano, Past Chair of the California Restaurant Association Board of Directors and owner of Maria’s Italian Kitchen, a neighborhood Italian restaurant locations across Los Angeles including in Brentwood and Westwood. “Many restaurant owners have invested lots of money to build beautiful outdoor dining spaces to increase their capacity for private events and recoup some of their losses from these difficult past few years. AB 1217 will help sustain this crucial tool and allow local restaurants such as my own to continue to provide delicious meals for our communities.”

This new bill builds on a previous measure, AB 61, authored by Gabriel and signed into law by Governor Newsom in 2021. AB 61 allowed restaurants to have more regulatory flexibility on various issues, such as outdoor food preparation and service, using their own spaces to increase outdoor dining capacity, and serving alcohol on outdoor premises.

If passed, the proposed bill would extend current temporary relief measures, such as conditional use permits for outdoor dining expansion and parklet conversion to al fresco seating, offering more permanence to the restaurant industry amid uncertainties and additional pandemic-induced operating costs.

AB 1217 comes at a crucial time as the City of Los Angeles has proposed a new ordinance that will introduce new restrictions and fees on outdoor dining, requiring restaurants to apply for expensive new permits for existing patios. Should AB 1217 be passed, it would preempt this ordinance and help local restaurants avoid costly and confusing red tape to keep their outdoor dining operations open. Similarly, restaurants in Santa Monica have been pushing back against the new permitting officials have implemented in the city.  

“It definitely feels like it’s the end of an era right now,” said Brian Bornemann, chef and founder of sustainable seafood restaurant Crudo e Nudo on Main Street an interview with the Santa Monica Mirror last month. “It’s the opposite to helping small businesses. They’re trying to penalize you at all costs.” 

Although the bill is in its nascent stages, Gabriel expects a hearing in the coming weeks. Should the bill pass the assembly, it could be moved to Gov. Gavin Newsom around September, with the governor determining whether to sign the bill and others into law during the fall.

Related Posts

(Video) Dayglow Coffee Opens New Location in Larchmont

May 29, 2024

May 29, 2024

The specialty coffee shop that serves premium coffee as drip or hand brew coffee, canned cold brew and espresso drinks....

Thousands of UAW Members Join Strike at UCLA and UC Davis Over Unfair Labor Practices

May 28, 2024

May 28, 2024

Union Demand UC Respect Free Speech Rights and Provide Safe Work Environments Thousands of UAW Local 4811 members at UCLA...

Culver City Police Report Highlights Week of Arrests and Community Engagement

May 28, 2024

May 28, 2024

Officers Participate in National Police Week, Make Drug and Firearm Arrests The Culver City Police Department has been active over...

Murder Charge Added in Venice Canals Assault Case After Victim’s Death

May 28, 2024

May 28, 2024

Anthony Jones Now Faces Life Sentence Without Possibility of Parole  Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today that...

Celebrate National Burger Day with Free Burgers and Special Deals on May 28

May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024

From Arby’s to Wendy’s, Find out Where to Score the Best Burger Deals As National Burger Day approaches on May...

Pultizer Prize Winning Rapper Signs Deal To Purchase Pricey Brentwood Estate

May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024

Deal Would Be One of the Biggest Real Estate Sales in 2024  Pulitzer Prize winning rapper Kendrick Lamar has agreed...

Check Out Local Library Events and Upcoming Programs Going Into June

May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024

Brentwood, Palisades, and West Los Angeles Libaries Schedules Included As the school year draws to a close, the Brentwood Library...

Measles Case Reported in Traveler at LAX: Health Officials Issue Exposure Warning

May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024

Fourth Infectious Case of Measles in Los Angeles This Year, Third at LAX The Los Angeles County Department of Public...

West Hollywood’s Arts and Culture Industry Generates $12.4 Million in 2022

May 24, 2024

May 24, 2024

Industry Supports 248 Jobs and Contributes $3.4 Million in Tax Revenue The nonprofit arts and culture sector in West Hollywood...

UCLA Police Make First Arrest in Attack on Palestine Solidarity Encampment

May 24, 2024

May 24, 2024

18-year-old Charged With Assault with a Deadly Weapon; Bail Set at $30,000 By Dolores Quintana After three weeks, the University...

UAW Local 4811 Calls for Strike at UCLA and UC Davis Over Unresolved Labor Practices

May 24, 2024

May 24, 2024

UCLA Administration Calls in Riot Police Over Brief Establishment of Second Encampment The Executive Board of UAW Local 4811 called...

Woman Charged After High-Speed Pursuit, Multi-Vehicle Crash on 405 Freeway

May 23, 2024

May 23, 2024

Preliminary hearing set for June 20, Suspect Faces Multiple Charges Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that a...

UCLA Police Chief Reassigned After Assault on Palestine Solidarity Encampment

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

Acting Chief Named as John Thomas Reassigned to Other Duties on Monday By Dolores Quintana In the aftermath of the...

(Video) The Long Awaited Opening of @Something About Her. The line was down the block for most of the day. Huge success

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

If you look closely you can see the owners in the video, who were so very gracious and genuine to...