As warmer weather arrives and restaurant patios begin to appeal to diners, Thousand Oaks officials have proposed a new ordinance on outside dining areas.
Planning commissioners approved the draft ordinance earlier this week and sent it to the City Council for consideration. The proposal regulates outdoor smoking, street setbacks and sign placement on awnings and umbrellas.
An 18-table outdoor expansion planned by owners of Roxy's Deli on Thousand Oaks Boulevard prompted city planners to draft the ordinance.
"We just didn't have any guidelines," planner Haider Alawami said. "This will take care of that."
Alawami said the city's smoking ordinance, which prohibits smokers from lighting up within 20 feet of a restaurant's entrance, will also be extended to outside dining areas under the new ordinance.
But Mervyn Kopp, the only commissioner to vote against the proposed ordinance, said he thought the restrictions on smoking outside at Roxy's were unnecessary.
"To say we don't want you to inhale smoke when you can inhale major pollutants from cars going by on a major thoroughfare like Thousand Oaks Boulevard is just silly," Kopp said. "I like to eat at Roxy's, but I'll eat inside thank you."
The proposed ordinance calls for enforcing the city's already strict sign policies by prohibiting restaurant owners from displaying advertisements or identification on shade umbrellas or patio awnings.
Commissioners also agreed to allow restaurant owners an average distance of 10 feet between the street and the edge of their outdoor dining areas. Alawami said the arrangement would give owners more leeway to build in limited space.
The City Council is scheduled to consider the draft ordinance May 17.