Transition to the Outdoor Places Program

People dine and walk outside of Berkeley Untapped on Tennyson Street

The first draft program requirements for the permanent Outdoor Places Program are now available for public review and were open to public comment through November 4. These draft program requirements apply to above curb patios that are located in the public right-of-way but do not occupy on-street parking or vehicle travel lanes -- typically located on sidewalks or tree lawns. This program will replace the current Tables, Chairs and Rails (TCR) permit program through DOTI. 

The draft requirements, informed by an evaluation of best practices around the country: 

  • Offer more flexibility for patio configuration/delineation and business 

  • Provide greater emphasis on stewardship of the Right-of-Way 

  • Better account for accessibility needs, especially for persons with disabilities 

  • Clarify the management and operational responsibilities of the operator.  

View the draft requirements(PDF, 56MB) 


During the pandemic, the City took extraordinary measures to make it easier for restaurants and bars to expand operations outside. This included providing relief from some city regulations that address patios, such as zoning and rules for private use of the public right-of-way.

The temporary program ends on October 31, 2022, after which the city will no longer accept new applications for temporary outdoor expansion areas.

Temporary patio permits in good standing as of October 31 (meaning renewals are on time and the patios are meeting the requirements of the permit) will be allowed to remain into 2023 while the permanent Outdoor Places Program is developed. Program participants must continue to notify neighbors of their temporary patio via a public posting and may be subject to a Needs and Desires Hearing, as directed by the Department of Excise and Licenses. Exact deadlines and procedures will depend on the location of the temporary outdoor space.

Please see below for more detail.

Please select the location that best describes your temporary patio:

Above Curb (public sidewalks, tree lawns)

Definition of "Above Curb"

Click to enlarge "Above Curb" illustrationIllustration of outdoor dining on a public sidewalk(JPG, 910KB)

"Above curb" patios are temporary patios that are located in the public right-of-way but do not occupy on-street parking or vehicle travel lanes. Above curb patios are typically located on sidewalks or tree lawns. If any portion of the patio extends into on-street parking or vehicle lanes, the entire patio is considered "below curb."

Temporary Permit Expiration and Transition Dates

New applications for temporary patios will not be accepted for "above curb" locations after October 31, 2022. Outdoor dining areas that have already received temporary permits before October 31, 2022, and are in good standing (meaning that renewals are on time and the patios are meeting the requirements of the permit) may continue in place through April 30, 2023, or longer if an extension is granted by the city.

To continue long-term beyond April 2023, businesses will need to apply under the Outdoor Places Program by January 31, 2023.

Why Do I Need to Re-apply?

With a new, permanent Outdoor Places Program, businesses will be able to invest in a long-term setup, and with that, comes the need to take a closer look at how we are ensuring safe and inclusive access and promoting a functional, vibrant public realm.

It is anticipated that some of the pre-pandemic rules will be reinstated with the development of the Outdoor Places Program. This may mean some applicants approved under the temporary program need to make changes to their outdoor design, or even their building, in order to continue on a long-term basis. 

While specific regulations are currently in development, changes may be needed to address items such as:

  • Access for emergency services
  • Access for persons with disabilities
  • User safety
  • Design quality
  • Neighborhood impacts
  • Parking requirements
  • Utility and snow removal needs
  • Bicycle connectivity
  • Transit access and other curbside demands

 

Tables, Chairs and Railings Permit

If you want to apply to use the public right-of-way under the city's existing (pre-pandemic) regulations, you may apply for a permit under the current Tables, Chairs and Railings Permit program from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI).

If you have a liquor license, you will also need to submit a request for a permanent modification with the Department of Excise and Licenses. 

Below Curb (on-street parking, travel lanes)

Definition of "Below Curb"

Click to enlarge "Below Curb" illustrationIllustration of outdoor dining in the parking lane on a city street(JPG, 1MB)

"Below curb" patios are temporary patios where any portion is located in on-street parking or vehicle travel lanes. 

Temporary Permit Expiration and Transition Dates

New applications for temporary patios will not be accepted for "below curb" locations after October 31, 2022. Outdoor dining areas that have already received temporary permits before October 31, 2022, and are in good standing (meaning that renewals are on time and the patios are meeting the requirements of the permit) may continue in place through December 31, 2023.

To continue long-term beyond December 2023, businesses will need to apply under the Outdoor Places Program by September 30, 2023, and be fully permitted by December 31, 2023. Applications and draft rules for review will be announced here as they become available. Sign up for email notifications.

Why Do I Need to Re-apply?

With a new, permanent Outdoor Places Program, businesses will be able to invest in a long-term setup, and with that, comes the need to take a closer look at how we are ensuring safe and inclusive access and promoting a functional, vibrant public realm.

It is anticipated that some of the pre-pandemic rules will be reinstated with the development of the Outdoor Places Program. This may mean some applicants approved under the temporary program need to make changes to their outdoor design, or even their building, in order to continue on a long-term basis. 

While specific regulations are currently in development, changes may be needed to address items such as:

  • Access for emergency services
  • Access for persons with disabilities
  • User safety
  • Design quality
  • Neighborhood impacts
  • Parking requirements
  • Utility and snow removal needs
  • Bicycle connectivity
  • Transit access and other curbside demands

The city expects to share draft rules for “below curb” patios by April 2023.

Right-of-Way Encroachment Permit

If you want to apply to use the public right-of-way under the city's existing (pre-pandemic) regulations, you may apply for a permit under the current Right-of-Way Encroachment Permit program from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI).

If you have a liquor license, you will also need to submit a request for a permanent modification with the Department of Excise and Licenses. 

Private Property (private parking lots, privately-owned open areas)

Definition of "Private Property"

Click to enlarge "Private Property" illustrationIllustration of outdoor dining in a private parking lot(JPG, 1MB)

These are temporary patios located completely on private property. Typically these are located on private parking lots and open areas on a property.

Temporary Permit Expiration and Transition Dates

New applications for temporary patios will not be accepted for private property locations after October 31, 2022. Outdoor dining areas that have already received temporary permits before October 31, 2022, and are in good standing (meaning that renewals are on time and the patios are meeting the requirements of the permit) may continue in place through December 31, 2023.

To continue long-term beyond December 2023, businesses will need to apply under the Outdoor Places Program by September 30, 2023, and be fully permitted by December 31, 2023. Applications and draft rules for review will be announced here as they become available. Sign up for email notifications.

Why Do I Need to Re-apply?

With a new, permanent Outdoor Places Program, businesses will be able to invest in a long-term setup, and with that, comes the need to take a closer look at how we are ensuring safe and inclusive access and promoting a functional, vibrant public realm.

It is anticipated that some of the pre-pandemic rules will be reinstated with the development of the Outdoor Places Program. This may mean some applicants approved under the temporary program need to make changes to their outdoor design, or even their building, in order to continue on a long-term basis. 

While specific regulations are currently in development, changes may be needed to address items such as:

  • Access for emergency services
  • Access for persons with disabilities
  • User safety
  • Design quality
  • Neighborhood impacts
  • Parking requirements
  • Utility and snow removal needs
  • Bicycle connectivity
  • Transit access and other curbside demands

The city expects to share draft rules for private property under the Denver Zoning Code by April 2023. 

Commercial Zoning Permits

If you want to apply to use your private property for outdoor dining under the city's existing (pre-pandemic) regulations, you may apply for a permit under the current Commercial Zoning Permits procedures.

 

 


Contact Us

Brad Johnson, Senior City Planner
Community Planning & Development

Jay Decker, Transportation Innovation Manager
Department of Transportation & Infrastructure

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