City modifies parking in Old Town

Changes will allow restaurants to expand seating to parking lots and lanes.

July 18, 2020 — The implementation of new COVID-related protocols in Florence continues with a change in the parking regulations governing Bay Street. 

The new policy for parking in Old Town is still being finalized, but the framework for modified parking restrictions is in place and the next step is set to begin as early as next week. 

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, city staff announced the new Old Town parking plan, which included the rationale for the change and the next step business need to take in order to legally participate in the program. 

There is also a plan for eating establishments which are not located next to public roads, allowing them to expand seating into private parking spaces connected to their restaurant.

“The City of Florence is expanding the outdoor seating allowances for local restaurants to seat more people outside to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. Restaurants with parking lots will be allowed to expand into their parking spaces, and restaurants that do not have parking spaces will be allowed to expand into the parking lane,” the City’s statement explained.

The City has two different forms available for restaurants, depending on their location and specific circumstances. Once the restaurant’s form is deemed complete by the City of Florence, restaurants can expand their outdoor seating until Oct. 30.

The modifications to parking in Old Town are in part due to concerns over the inability to navigate the sidewalks on Bay Street while adhering to the physical distancing requirements currently in place. 

There is also concern with assuring proper distancing  between tables while allowing restaurants to meet the rising demand for their services as the summer continues. 

Sarah Moehrke, Community & Economic Development Assistant, is coordinating the modification to current parking regulations and provided additional guidance and a timeframe for interested restaurant owners.

“The City has created a four-business-day process that will be used for processing the Outdoor Seating Acknowledgement form,” Moehrke explained. “Once a restaurant turns in the form, staff will be given two days to review the form. Once the review process has taken place, if everything is in order, the restaurant will be allowed to expand seating.” 

For restaurants that apply for a right-of-way permit to utilize the parking lane in front of their restaurant to expand seating, the City’s Public Works department will place barriers provided  by the City within one business day. 

The restaurant will then be notified that it can expand seating into that area.

For the restaurants that are applying for the private property expansion into their own parking areas, those restaurants will be able to start their expansion as soon as their acknowledgement form is reviewed by staff and deemed complete.

There are different forms for business owners to submit to the city, depending on the specifics of their restaurants parking situations. 

These can be found online at  

For more information about the Expansion of Outdoor Seating program, contact Sarah Moehrke, Community & Economic Development Assistant, by email at [email protected], or call her at 541-991-8276.


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