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Public Way Use &

Sidewalk Cafes


Businesses that have a sign, canopy, awning, bench, or anything else that extends over, under, or is on the public way require a Public Way Use Permit. These permits are issued by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection(BACP) – Public Way Use (PWU) Unit. The permit process does require City Council approval.

Business identifiers including signs, awning, canopies, and banners are also required to obtain a Department of Buildings sign construction permit in addition to the public way use permit. Only a licensed sign contractor can apply for the sign construction permit. The city does provide a list of approved contractors from which business owners can choose for the sign construction permit.


Sidewalk cafes are another use of the public way that requires a public way use application. Dining in a sidewalk cafe is a great way to enjoy a delicious meal in warm weather. The sidewalk cafe season runs from March 1 to December 1. To take advantage of those occasional warm days in March, it would be beneficial to submit your application in January. A Sidewalk Cafe Permit has a 9-month term, and must be applied for, and issued, every year.

Businesses with an approved Sidewalk Cafe Permit must conspicuously display the permit and the approved plan on the exterior window or wall of the main entrance of the licensed retail food establishment during all hours of operation., and approved plan, must be conspicuously displayed on the exterior wall or window of the main entrance of the licensed retail food establishment during all hours of operation.

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