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Santa Barbara County allows businesses to use right-of-way areas
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Santa Barbara County allows businesses to use right-of-way areas

To help restaurants and retail shops reopen, Santa Barbara County has launched a program that will allow businesses and organizations to temporarily expand into adjacent public right-of-way areas to meet social distancing protocols.

The first phase of the Small Business and Community Partnership Enhancement Program allows businesses authorized to reopen under the governor’s roadmap and the county’s RISE Guide to apply for an encroachment permit, a county spokesman said.

Businesses and organizations that want to use public sidewalks or roadways for their operations must submit an encroachment permit application, a site plan and a certificate of insurance, the spokesman said.

The site plan should show the portion of a right of way a business wants to use and include allowances for handicapped access to and through the right of way.

A second phase of the enhancement program is being developed to allow expansion onto areas of private property like parking lots, and once that’s completed, the county will announce the availability of those applications, the spokesman said.

Other businesses may apply in advance for right-of-way encroachment permits as they prepare for the state’s third stage of reopening the economy, for which no timeline has been announced.

For an application and more information, visit

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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

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