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Temporary Outdoor Business Operation Grant

To assist small businesses with adapting operations amid COVID-19, the City of San Diego is offering grants up to $3,000 to businesses constructing outdoor decks and platforms compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). As much as an additional $2,000--for a maximum grant of $5,000--will be available for businesses located in low- and moderate-income areas (LMA) or owned by a sole proprietor or majority group who meets federal low- and moderate-income (LMI) requirements.

Grants may be awarded in advance of construction, with LMA businesses and low-income majority owners receiving expedited, priority processing.

Background

In an effort to support businesses negatively impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19, the City of San Diego launched the Temporary Outdoor Business Operation (TOBO) permitting program in June 2020, making it easier for businesses to expand into the public right-of-way for outdoor operations. 

TOBO permits enable businesses to set up dining, retail and other business activities temporarily on the street, sidewalks or in parking lanes, as long as businesses comply with ADA and other regulations. Many businesses have been looking to create outdoor operations that are more attractive to customers by constructing decks or platforms, and others desire to modify decks and platforms that have already been constructed. The City is working to provide more permitting options and support businesses as they work to comply with ADA, City of San Diego and other regulations while operating safely in these relatively new outdoor settings.

The City of San Diego Economic Development Department is dedicating staff time to assist small businesses in code compliance. At this time the City has funding collected through SB 1186 fees, which are intended to be deployed to “increase disability access, encourage compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements, develop education resources for businesses, and facilitate compliance with Federal and State disability laws.” The City will use this funding to offset the costs small businesses incur to come into compliance with ADA and other applicable regulations. 

Eligibility

No more than one TOBO grant can be received by an individual owner.

To be eligible, a business must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be located in the City of San Diego, with loan funds being spent exclusively at that location
  • Have (or be in the process of acquiring) a valid City of San Diego Business Tax Certificate 
  • Have (or be in the process of acquiring) a Development Services Department-issued Temporary Outdoor Business Operation permit or a Business Improvement District-issue Public Right-of-Way (PROW) Permit
  • Not have more than 5 locations
  • Be independently owned and operated and not dominant in its field on a national basis
  • Not be a lobbying, lending, investment, or insurance company; a golf course, racetrack, or gambling facility; retail location selling alcoholic beverages for consumption primarily off-site under 5,000 square feet; or a business engaged in performances or sales of products of a prurient sexual nature
  • Not be engaged in any illegal activity per local, state or federal regulations

Backup Documentation to be Provided by Applicants

  • IRS Form W-9
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Vendor Enrollment Payment Form and voided check
  • Copy of owner's driver's license (OR Alien ID Card, if not a citizen, with current utility bill or equivalent proof of residence) 
  • Written description of replacement or new feature(s) to be added to demonstrate compliance with ADA and other regulations
  • Estimated cost of making modifications/improvements
  • Documented expenses submitted to, and approved by, the City upon project completion and inspection of construction  

Eligible Use of Funds

  • Fees for a signed and stamped drawing by a licensed civil or structural engineer
  • Cost of labor
  • Cost of materials, including but not limited to accessible ramps, metal bridge plates, framing material, guard rails, crowd control barricade (K-rails), retro reflectors, temporary bollards, exterior lighting, shades/awnings, planters, perimeter fixed seating, and temporary posts, wheel stops, barricades or their equivalents. 

How to Apply

Applicants will be asked, via an online grant application (below), to describe all elements of their outdoor operations that require replacement, addition or upgrade for ADA and other regulatory compliance. Applicants will also be asked to estimate the costs of listed elements, thereby demonstrating the business's eligibility for the grant. Expenses must be documented and submitted to, and approved by, the City upon project completion and inspection of construction.  

NOTE: When accessing the TOBO Grant Application, please use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as your browser.

TOBO Grant Application