Coastal Commission OKs ‘Spaces as Places’ parking replacement requirement for beach areas

The "beach impact area" — shown in yellow — is where "Spaces as Places" businesses will have to replace parking.
The “beach impact area” — shown in yellow — is where “Spaces as Places” businesses will have to replace public parking occupied by outdoor operations.
(City of San Diego)

Six La Jolla locations are affected by regulations requiring public parking occupied by outdoor dining to be replaced with an equivalent number of spaces elsewhere.


The California Coastal Commission has approved the city of San Diego’s “Spaces as Places” regulations requiring some businesses in the coastal zone to replace public parking occupied by outdoor dining.

The Spaces as Places program, guidelines launched during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to allow restaurants to seat patrons on sidewalks and parking spots during the closure of indoor dining, was made permanent in 2021.

The Coastal Commission, however, had concerns about the elimination of parking spots in a narrow strip of San Diego’s coastline known as the “beach impact area,” which begins at the north end of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla and runs about 15 miles south to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in Point Loma.

A loss of parking can mean a loss of public beach access, and the commission asked the City Council to amend the program to require restaurants to replace any public parking they occupy with an equivalent number of spaces elsewhere. The council did so May 22.

The commission approved the addition of the parking replacement requirement Aug. 10 and the city is now able to permit Spaces as Places locations in the overall coastal zone, according to city representative Perette Godwin.

Temporary outdoor operations that were permitted during the COVID emergency may be maintained while an application for a permit under the newly authorized regulations is in process, Godwin said.

Enforcement of the new regulations is to begin Monday, Sept. 11.

The beach impact area goes inland about a quarter-mile for most areas of the coastal zone, Godwin said, though it does exceed a quarter-mile in some places.

A map of Spaces as Places permit applications can be found at

In Bird Rock, Beaumont’s Eatery is in the beach impact area and has applied for a Spaces as Places permit. Owner Megan Heine declined to comment.

In The Village, four locations where there are Spaces as Places permit applications fall within the beach impact area. Some of the addresses have more than one restaurant, and Godwin wasn’t immediately able to say which have applied and thus are subject to the parking rules.

In La Jolla Shores, one address with multiple restaurants is affected.

Also in The Shores, the new regulations will affect the block of Avenida de la Playa between El Paseo Grande and Calle de la Plata that has been closed to vehicle traffic for outdoor dining during certain hours since July 2020. However, that closure is operating under a special-events permit through Dec. 30 and will not be subject to the Spaces as Places regulations until then, according to Darren Moore, a member of the La Jolla Shores Business Association.

Godwin confirmed that enforcement there will be delayed until the special-events permit runs out. “The city will work with the businesses to identify options to continue the street closure,” she said.

The Shores Business Association is working to find replacement parking spots and should have a clearer timetable in about 45 days, said Moore, who owns the Shore Rider restaurant and bar and Dough Momma Pizzeria on Avenida de la Playa.

When enforcement begins, whether next month or next year, penalties for non-compliance “will be issued in accordance with the San Diego municipal code by the Development Services Department’s Building and Land Use Enforcement Division,” Godwin said.

For easily correctable violations, an administrative citation may be issued, with penalties ranging from a warning to $1,000.

For violations that have a significant impact or may need permits to achieve compliance, “a civil penalty notice and order would typically be issued,” Godwin said. That comes with penalties accumulated daily and “only collected in a hearing if the property remains in violation,” she said.

La Jolla Spaces as Places applications

Godwin provided the following list of addresses throughout La Jolla that have applications for Spaces as Places permits. Six of them are in the beach impact area (indicated by asterisks).

• 7550 Fay Ave.

• 1005 Prospect St. *

• 909 Prospect St.

• 927 Silverado St.

• 2152 Avenida de la Playa *

• 1119 Wall St.

• 1237 Prospect St. *

• 1109 Wall St.

• 1025 Prospect St. *

• 7811 Herschel Ave.

• 1049/1037 Prospect St. *

• 1044 Wall St.

• 5662 La Jolla Blvd. * ◆


3:27 p.m. Aug. 22, 2023: This article was updated with new information.