Nevada City to fine tune outdoor dining |

Nevada City to fine tune outdoor dining

Nevada City Council retains outdoor dining yet hands off to city staff


Permanent outdoor dining remains on the drawing board for Nevada City’s Commercial Street, though differences of opinion led the council to send the issue to staff for a 30-day review before returning with recommendations.

Brian McAlister, city engineer, said the council previously decided that permanent outdoor dining would proceed after needed infrastructure upgrades were completed. Those are scheduled to begin in February.

“Were working with Rebecca Kaufman Architecture on this,” McAlister said at Wednesday’s meeting. “We’ll have widened sidewalks, and decided Commercial Street will open to one-way traffic. After an extensive review we determined not to close traffic permanently, but we could use bollards to occasionally close traffic for special events.”

Otherwise, Commercial Street will open to motor vehicles, which is needed during daylight hours for deliveries, McAlister said. During the past six months the city has seen what occurs during a permanent closure. Drivers who managed to gain entry had to turn around, often in the Three Forks parking lot — a private lot that created challenges.

The next step is for McAlister and Kaufman to go to the city Planning Commission next month to work out details on colors, materials, lighting, fixed seating and other items. The plan will be presented to the council in December, with construction slated to begin in February.

Mayor Duane Strawser noted the Commercial Street project, several years in the making, had always including replacing the boardwalk with something more structurally permanent.

“We agreed to replace them with something solid that wouldn’t deteriorate, and would not have to clean underneath,” he said.

“It was always in the plan to replace them with something structural, because it offered merchants and pedestrians an equal chance on either side of the street a chance to walk over there and sit down and enjoy it,“ Strawser added.

Council member Doug Fleming questioned the direction of the project.

“We gave direction to make sure the sidewalks were even and no more than 9 feet,” he said. “And we talked about little cocktail tables put by the establishments and controlled by them, but I don’t remember anything about permanent seating. I’m a little confused about our direction, it seems to have drifted a bit.”

McAlister has said that temporary outdoor dining was a good way to help restaurants recover losses during the pandemic. With needed curb replacement and other infrastructure improvements, the city needs to commit to the February-to-May construction schedule in order to avoid future business disruptions.

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at

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