City Councilor Cynthia D. Borrego and Council Vice President Diane Gibson Proposing Two Pieces of Legislation for Outdoor Dining and Outdoor Retail Areas

The legislation will be introduced at the June 1, 2020 City Council Meeting.

May 28, 2020

City Councilor Cynthia D. Borrego and Council Vice-President Diane Gibson will put to Albuquerque City Council’s vote Ordinance 20-16 and Resolution 20-57 on Monday, June 1, 2020.  Proposed O-20-16 authorizes the Albuquerque Planning Department to generate ‘Temporary Outdoor Dining Area’ or TODA permits to allow safe outdoor dining areas while New Mexico State Health COVID-19 public health orders are in effect. 

TODA’s will allow dining establishments to expand into on-site, out-door parking lots, setbacks, and landscaped areas. As proposed, TODA’s require a scaled site plan, payment of a nominal fee, and the approval of both the property and restaurant owners.  Outdoor restaurant seating in parking lots will be safely fenced from parking lot traffic.  Shade structures would be allowed in the setback or landscaping areas, where they would otherwise not be permitted, as well as in parking lot areas where they are already allowed.

“At a time where small businesses and restaurants have been hit hard by the new normal of social distancing, we want to give businesses every avenue possible to allow them to be creative about occupancy while still being as safe as possible,” said Councilor Gibson.

On street expansion to adjacent retailers and restaurants is addressed in Resolution 20-57 brought forward by Councilor Borrego and Council Vice-President Gibson for hearing at the June 1, 2020 City Council Meeting. Resolution 20-57 seeks to adopt as City policy a portion of the proposed update to the Development Process Manual that authorizes the provision of “Parklets” or “Parquitos” in on-street parking spaces. Parklets are areas where an on-street parking space is removed as a parking space and is used instead by an adjacent business as an additional seating or activity area. They are intended to be a cost-effective way to activate streets, create more vibrant neighborhoods, encourage pedestrian traffic and promote economic vitality

“Small businesses are the cornerstone of New Mexico’s economy and have recently been negatively affected due to COVID-19 closures.” Councilor Borrego stated “These two bills will provide much needed support in this time of uncertainty by allowing flexible business practices in safe outdoor spaces.”

Both Councilor Borrego and Council Vice-President Gibson believe the added outdoor areas of operation will provide Albuquerque’s restaurant and retail establishments flexibility and a much-needed boost after forced closures.  Additionally, these two outdoor restaurant and retail proposals offer Albuquerque’s people healthy and fresh air environments as we return to relishing our urban amenities.