Patios in Peril

Upon further inspection of Fullerton’s outdoor dining fees we have more news to report to you. A further survey of nearby cities (last week we told you that Fullerton has levied a rate that is 30 times higher than Newport Beach’s) we find that we are in the lead in how much money the city is trying to extract from local businesses who offer us those wonderful outside dining areas.

So far we have checked with nine other neighboring cities and found that Fullerton’s fee is matched only by Downtown Disney (it’s like a city).

Many of the cities charge no monthly fee, only a license and a permit. All cities have an approval process. Businesses are not able to set up patios if it blocks rights-of-way or causes safety issues. But the $1,300  permit fee in Orange compares favorably to the thousands of dollars of fees in Fullerton plus $0.90/sq ft.

To find another city that charges comparable rate we had to look as far as Pasadena, and there it is only along the famous section of Colorado Boulevard where the Rosebowl Parade goes and the world famous Norton Simon Museum sits. Norton Simon, remember, to open his museum in Fullerton where his Hunt Foods headquarters was but was unable to satisfy the cities requirements. Let’s not push more culture all the way up to the region’s second best city, Pasadena.

Outdoor dining has become a desirable feature in downtown Fullerton. It serves local residents and attracts patrons from the broader area. It promotes employment here, in Fullerton. But most of all it serves customers, is an enjoyable and social activity, and promotes a sense of community. We as citizens ask who it serves to charge such high fees for a service that is so popular to so many Fullertonians. And next week we will be doing just that. Be sure to check back.

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