At a special meeting on June 30, the Moab City Council passed an ordinance allowing outdoor dining structures seasonally. The resolution passed 4-0, with Councilmember Tawny Knuteson-Boyd recused.

At the COVID-19 pandemic’s height, the City of Moab allowed restaurants to provide temporary outdoor seating in parking lots — called parklets — under an emergency provision set to expire on June 30, 2021. The Moab City Council discussed allowing outdoor dining structures such as seasonal parklets at their regular meeting on June 22.

At the June 22 meeting, some Moab business owners voiced concerns that prioritizing outdoor structures inadvertently hurt other types of businesses by limiting parking space.

The council delayed their decision on the topic to a special meeting on June 30, where they ultimately passed Ordinance 2021-13 to allow seasonal outdoor dining structures. The vote was unanimously in favor, with Knuteson-Boyd recused due to a financial conflict of interest.

Restaurants must apply to establish parklets and obey a number of restrictions. All lighting from outdoor dining parklets must abide by Dark Sky restrictions set in the city code. Restaurants are permitted to set up structures such as umbrellas, tents, planters, barriers and space heaters (as long as they are two feet away from flammable material). Tents must be approved by the Moab Building Official and Fire Officials, and coolers must abide by health guidelines for distribution. Outdoor cooking is prohibited.

The new ordinance also stipulates that “outdoor dining shall not interfere with required Vehicular circulation and parking.” Parklets must comply with the noise provisions set in the Moab Municipal Code and cannot play amplified music. Outdoor dining hours of operation are restricted to 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Parklets may only be entered from the sidewalk, not the street, and cannot extend into the street further than 12 feet from the gutter. Outdoor dining structures may not restrict the use of fire hydrants, public utility access, crosswalks or building entrances. The width of each parklet may not extend the frontage of the business property without written permission from the adjacent property owner.

The City of Moab reserves the right to ask that a parklet be shut down if deemed necessary for public health, safety or welfare. Parklet applicants must work with the city engineer, public works director and building officials if they hope to build a larger parklets. All repairs or improvements are allowed seasonally but must be removed during the offseason.

Parklets are permitted seasonally from March 1 through Nov. 30 each year.

Restaurants located on a street corner are allowed only one parklet. Parklets must be located on streets with lower volumes of traffic and where they will least affect neighboring businesses. The parklet application process requires that the applicant communicate with adjacent business owners to evaluate concerns.