At council meeting, long-delayed hearing on boardwalk tables


The official discussion of tables is tabled no longer.

The Long Beach City Council voted 3-1 on Tuesday night to create a mechanism to allow tables and chairs to be used on the boardwalk on a seasonal basis, ending a dispute between the city and Brian Braddish, owner of the popular eatery Riptides.

Council member Roy Lester cast the lone no vote, saying, “The new resolution makes no sense, and solves nothing. It is also poorly written.”

Braddish did not attend at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Nearly two months after the city sent letters to boardwalk eateries — including not only Riptides but Beach Burger, Marvel, Skudin Surf and Shakers and Shuckers — notifying them that it was revoking their permits to have tables and chairs on the boardwalk, and postponing a public hearing for one of those months, that hearing finally took place at Tuesday’s meeting.

The council was expected to hold a hearing on the boardwalk-furniture tiff at the Jan. 3 meeting, but instead, yes, tabled the discussion until the following meeting, on Jan. 17, but it didn’t happen then, either.

In his last meeting as corporation counsel on Tuesday, Rich Berrios read the new update of the city code, saying there would be two phases of enforcement, with the first in effect through 2025. It applies to “restaurants, luncheonettes, stands and other businesses directly adjacent to the north boundary of the boardwalk” — the railing closest to Broadway.

“There’s a general prohibition in the code on tables and chairs on the boardwalk,” Berrios said. “This amends it to permit said tables and chairs with a written agreement or permission from the city. So additionally, under this, notwithstanding any permission, between Nov. 15 and March 15, all tables and chairs have to be removed from the boardwalk — essentially the offseason for all these boardwalk businesses.”

In Phase Two, which begins in 2026, the code will be amended so businesses that want to put tables out will apply to the parks commissioner, Joe Brand, and he will either approve or deny the request.

Ron Paganini, a Long Beach resident, was one of the two to speak during the public comment portion of the hearing. He said that Braddish’s original agreement with the city, allowing al fresco dining at Riptides, did not include starting and ending dates.

Braddish agreed to pay $100 per year per boardwalk table in 2021, for a total of seven tables. The lease with the city that Braddish signed, which includes those fees, expires in September 2025.

The new code amendment requires new businesses to pay $500 per season.

“It mentions seasons in the charter,” Paganini told the council. “There’s no date in the original charter of when to take the tables off. So when does (Braddish’s) season end?”

Berrios didn’t answer the question directly, and Councilwoman Karen McInnis said only that she was “not sure we should be talking about this specific agreement for a specific individual.”

Lester responded to Paganini by saying, “When you look at the contract, where it says background information, it says any additional concessions will be allowed to operate from May 1 to Sept. 30 — the prime season — during the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.”