Main Street dining decks: up to 12 will be approved this year | ParkRecord.com

Main Street dining decks: up to 12 will be approved this year

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

Restaurateurs along Main Street have less than a month to decide whether they want to join the smorgasbord of dining decks on the street.

City Hall has set a March 23 deadline for restaurants to file applications to be allowed to set up a dining deck. The deadline applies to restaurants that have not had decks before and those that are renewing permits.

At most, officials will approve 12 dining decks in 2012. Permits were issued last year to nine restaurants covering the 2011 and 2012 seasons, lasting from May 1 until Oct. 30 each year.

If all nine of the restaurants already holding permits build dining decks this year, City Hall would have three permits available to newcomers. Only eight dining decks will be allowed to remain standing during the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, however, meaning that some would need to be removed during the early August event.

Staffers must approve a permit allowing the deck itself while the Park City Council must agree to a lease that allows a deck to occupy space on a public roadway.

Francisco Astorga, the City Hall planner who is handling the applications, said midweek he had not heard chatter that there will be additional restaurants seeking approvals to set up dining decks.

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The 2012 season will be the third in which City Hall allows the dining decks, which are built atop the street and jut out a few feet from the sidewalk.

"I think they were successful last year, using a space that was underutilized," Astorga said, adding, "People enjoy dining outdoors. They will look for restaurants that offer such amenities."

Main Street leaders lobbied City Hall to allow the decks as Park City continued to suffer amid the recession. Main Street sees the decks as an enticement for diners and as a means to keep the street competitive with other shopping, dining and entertainment districts. The decks are oftentimes packed.

Alison Butz, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, a business group that represents Main Street and nearby streets, said she planned to send the City Hall application for the decks to restaurants this week. Butz said she does not anticipate each of the 12 permits will be taken this year.

Butz said the decks have become popular in the two years they have been on Main Street, mentioning that diners like to people watch as they eat their meals.

"You’re seeing more people outside of the buildings," she said, adding, "To see more people on the street adds to that vibrant nature."

For more information, contact Astorga at City Hall. His phone number is 615-5064. His e-mail address is fastorga@parkcity.org.