Orlando commissioners approve plan to use parking space for outdoor seating ‘parklets’

Program mirrors similar setup in Winter Garden, Winter Park

ORLANDO, Fla. – More outdoor seating for restaurants and businesses could be coming to Orlando neighborhood in the near future.

During its Wednesday council, Orlando City Commission approved a new temporary permits, which would allow businesses to expand their outdoor seating by utilizing street parking spaces, known as “parklets.”

“What we want to do is figure out how to give them more space,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. “We’ll have a process which is simply calling one of our planning officials. There’s no fees and we just want to make sure that we set it up in a safe manner.”

Orlando’s Community Redevelopment Agency signed off on $200,000 in funding to help with the parklet program.

Jenny Lankenau owns Raw Juice Bar in Thornton Park, one area targeted as a prime example for “parklets.”

“We did reduce our hours because we’re not getting that afternoon crowd,” Lankenau said. “That would be helpful for us. I think it would bring more of the community down in Thornton Park.”

The city of Orlando’s proposal mirrors Winter Garden’s downtown, as well as Winter Park.

The spaces could also allow for outdoor alcohol.

“We haven’t done this yet but we’re looking at what some people call ‘wet zones’ where there may be areas where you can walk from one established to another,” Dyer added.

City leaders released this information about how to apply: Any restaurant or retail business within the Community Redevelopment Agency with adjacent on-street parking spaces on city right-of-way is eligible to apply. To apply, and inquire about parklets, email cityplanning@orlando.gov.

Parklets are effective immediately and will continue through February 1, 2021.

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