Outdoor Seating Guidelines

Looking for the Commercial Outdoor Dining Policy? You'll find that here.

Area Specifications

outdoor sidewalk sketch

  • Dining area must be located against the restaurant property such that an unobstructed pedestrian corridor of a minimum of 5 feet in width is maintained parallel to the street at all times. Where existing obstructions are present (such as fire hydrants, meters) the corridor can be measured to go around these obstructions. For tree grates, the corridor is measured from the out edge of the grate, unless an ADA-compliant grate is installed, in which case the 5 feet can be measured directly from the tree truck.
  • A minimum clearance of 5 feet must be maintained between the outdoor dining space and edge of driveways, alleys, and handicap ramps.
  • Additional sidewalk clearance may be required where pedestrian traffic or other circumstances warrant.
  • Clear unobstructed height of 7 feet must be maintained between the sidewalk surface and overhead objects including umbrellas.
  • Dining areas may be defined with approved non-stationary barriers.
  • Lighting must not cause glare to pedestrians or vehicular traffic.
  • Sidewalk Cafes are subject to compliance with all ADA regulations.

Additional Information

  • Board of Estimates approval does not negate any requirements for other permits such as Health Department Permits, Liquor Licenses, etc. If you wish to serve alcohol at your outdoor café, you will need to seek the addendum to your liquor license through the Board of Liquor License Commissioners.
  • The permit holder is liable for all damages and repairs to the streetscape, trees, and vegetation, sidewalks, or other public amenities that directly relate to the use of the permitted space.
  • Permit holders may be required to remove private materials or accessories temporarily to allow street, sidewalk, or utility access for maintenance operations or during approved special events.
  • Outdoor Seating is limited to the area approved by the City as specified on the permit application. All issued permits are location-specific.

Recap / To Do Check List

  • Meet with the Minor Privilege Staff for an initial review. Please provide one copy of a site plan, and evidence of the U & O Permit pending approval for outdoor seating. This evidence includes a copy of the BMZA approval if required.
  • Submit a completed Minor Privilege Application along with ten (10) additional copies of a site plan.
  • Notify the adjoining property owners and provide evidence of same 2 weeks prior to the Board of Estimates meeting.
  • After Board of Estimates approval you will be notified to come in to pay the appropriate fee and be directed back to Zoning to obtain the additional approved U & O Permit for outdoor seating.