City Council adopted a new sidewalk ordinance at its January 2021 meeting. This ordinance reflects lessons learned through allowing businesses to expand into the public space in response to COVID-19 capacity restrictions.
The ordinance greatly expands the ability for businesses to use the public space when their building touches the sidewalk. In particular, the new ordinance:
- Allows merchants to use the brick portion of the sidewalk in addition to the previously allowed use of the two to three feet of space of the sidewalk adjacent to the building.
- Allows merchants to place merchandise and displays in the areas mentioned above without a permit as long as the items are brought inside when the business is closed.
- Allows merchants to put objects and items on the sidewalks that remain on the sidewalks after business hours with a permit. The City has grandfathered in any items such as seating, planters, and decorative objects that existed on the sidewalks prior to February 2021.
- Allows sidewalk dining areas with an annual permit. The permits are valid from February 1 to January 31 each year.
The specially-issued COVID-19 Use Permits will remain in effect until the State of Emergency is lifted. After that point, merchants who wish to use the public sidewalk space will need to comply with the new ordinance.