Outdoor Dining Program
In May of 2020, city staff, in partnership with the Downtown Ventura Partners (DVP), presented a proposal to City Council to allow for a temporary, 30-day closure of five blocks of historic downtown Main Street to vehicular traffic to allow for outdoor dining and shopping in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pilot project was a resounding success and provided a financial lifeline to many Ventura businesses. At the conclusion of the 30-day pilot program, staff and the DVP returned to City Council on July 13, 2020, to request an extension of the downtown program, known as “Main Street Moves”. In addition to Main Street Moves, the City provided an opportunity for restaurants and other businesses throughout the City subjected to temporary closures to expand their business footprint through the Temporary Outdoor Business Expansion Program. This program has allowed businesses to expand their footprint to allow for street/sidewalk dining as well as increased space for retailers to elevate shopper engagement. Through a series of Council actions, Main Street Moves and the Temporary Outdoor Business Expansion Program have been extended through January 7, 2022.
In the summer of 2021, the DVP and the City of Ventura partnered with Sargent Town Planning to provide conceptual urban planning and design services for inserting outdoor dining uses within public spaces along building and street frontages. Simultaneously, public outreach was conducted, both in person and via an online survey, to gather feedback from business owners, residents, and visitors on response to Main Street Moves and the future of Main Street. The response to the online survey was overwhelming with over 11,200 responses, mostly affirming the desire to maintain a permanent downtown street closure to allow for continued outdoor dining and community gathering spaces.
On September 21, 2021, the City, in partnership with Downtown Ventura Partners, released the ‘Future of Main survey to engage the community and businesses about the future of Main St. in downtown Ventura. The survey was open for 30-days and received over 11,250 responses, overwhelmingly in support of the continuation of an outdoor dining program.
Main Street Moves Timeline
May 18, 2020: City Council provided feedback and approved the concept of a 30-day pilot program allowing businesses to reopen with outdoor expanded areas to assist with the COVID-19 safety protocol compliance.
June 15, 2020: City Council adopted a Resolution temporarily waiving special event permit fees and reducing insurance requirements for the expanded temporary retail/restaurant operations on public property permit.
July 13, 2020: City Council authorized the extension of the Temporary Outdoor Business Expansion through September 14, 2020 or by the conclusion of the Emergency Health Order, whichever concludes first.
September 8, 2020: Council authorized the extension of the Temporary Outdoor Business Expansion Program through February 15, 2021 or by the conclusion of the Emergency Health Order, whichever comes first.
February 8, 2021: Council authorized the extension of the Main Street Moves Permit to August 31, 2021 or by the conclusion of the Emergency Health Order, whichever comes first. *Council authorized extension of Main Street Moves to January 7, 2022.
June 28, 2021: City Council approved Agreement with Sargent Town Planning, for providing conceptual urban planning and design services for inserting outdoor dining uses within public spaces along building and street frontages.
November 8, 2021: As part of the permanent Main Street Moves program, direct staff to implement the permanent full closure of Main Street from Fir Street to the western boundary of the San Buenaventura Mission, retaining the existing curb and gutter configuration (see staff report for complete recommendation).
December 13, 2021: Staff recommends the continuance of the current Temporary Outdoor Business Expansion Program, which was created in response to the COVID emergency, through July 1, 2022. This extension will provide needed time for City staff to prepare a new special event permit that addresses parking and traffic concerns.