Temporary Outdoor Seating on Public Property

If you are a business or property owner looking to provide outdoor seating in sidewalk or parklet, you will need a Temporary Use Permit. Outdoor seating areas are subject to several regulations, including but not limited to: 

Outdoor Cooking

Outdoor cooking is not permitted, unless:

  • There are no residential uses located within two hundred (200) feet of the property and administrative approval is granted; or
  • Special Land Use approval is granted by the Planning Commission.

Clear Vision Requirements

Clear vision corner requirements are met, as defined in Chapter, 61, Article 2, Section 5.2.15 of the Code of Ordinances:

  • Clear vision areas are required in locations where an unobstructed view of approaching traffic is necessary for the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. 
  • For streets, twenty (20) feet along each lot line starting at the intersection of the lot lines, and connected by a straight line to form a triangular area.
  • For driveways, ten (10) feet along the lot line and the driveway starting at the intersection of the lot line and the closest edge of the driveway, and connected by a straight line to form a triangular area.
  • No plantings, signs, fences, walls or other structures exceeding thirty (30) inches in height shall be established or maintained in clear vision areas.

Operating Hours

Operating hours shall be no later than 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, unless Special Land Use approval is granted by Planning Commission.

Seating Requirements

Outdoor seating is restricted to the width of the proposed business' storefront, unless an affidavit of consent is completed by adjacent property owners.

Noise Requirements

No amplified outdoor music, sound, or noise shall be permitted unless Special Land Use approval is granted by Planning Commission.

Alcohol Requirements

If alcohol service is provided, operations are subject to the requirements of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

Questions

Please contact the Planning Department (see contact information to the right) with questions or for additional information.


Application Details

Applications for a Temporary Use Permit take about 30 minutes to complete once required information is gathered, and can be submitted online. You’ll want to submit your Permit Application about 10 days before you intend to open the outdoor seating area.

What Is Needed for a Temporary Use Permit

When you have gathered all application materials below and are ready to apply, you can apply online.

Citizen Access Account

We use a third-party application called Citizen Access for our Temporary Use Permit applications. If you've never used Citizen Access, we recommend that you review how to create an account before starting your application.

Site Plan

You'll need to upload a PDF of your site plan with your application.

The plan needs to be to scale and include:

  • lot lines and dimensions
  • streets and sidewalks
  • driveways and parking lots
  • existing buildings
  • tents, canopies, stages and seating/gathering areas
  • temporary structures
  • vending areas
  • alcohol consumption areas*
  • entrances/exits
  • layout of outdoor dining area, including anticipated number of seats/occupancy
  • hours of operation
  • any other relevant information

*If your restaurant has previously been approved to serve alcohol to outdoor seating areas, the City’s approval will hold for the expanded seating area for the term of the permit. Applicants are required to separately seek approval from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for expanded alcohol service.

Affidavit of Consent by Adjacent Property Owners

If outdoor seating is proposed to extend beyond the business' frontage, an affidavit of consent is required to be completed by adjacent property owners.

Insurance

You will need to obtain a certificate of insurance listing the City of Grand Rapids as additional insured with minimum liability coverage of $500,000.

Tents

Tents are not allowed in the right-of-way. Flame resistance certificate(s) from the tent rental agency or manufacturer are required. If the tent you want to use is over 400 square feet, your application will also need to be reviewed by our building inspections department.

Apply Online


Regulated Activities

List of Regulated Activities

Beverages

IS ALCOHOL OFFERED FOR PURCHASE OR WITH ADMISSIONS FEE?

  • You will need to contact GRPD 30+ days prior.
  • If proposed: it's required to 'define the area.' Typically done with planters instead of rope or fencing.

ARE FOOD AND BEVERAGES (OTHER THAN ALCOHOL) FOR SALE?

Sound Systems

ANY AMPLIFIED SOUND SYSTEMS?

  • How many decibels will the amplified sound system be?

Signs

ANY TEMPORARY SIGNS?

  • Temporary signage requires drawing to scale with dimensions. Location also must be noted. 

Electricity/Lighting

ANY TEMPORARY ELECTRICITY? STRING LIGHTING? FESTOON LIGHTING?

Gas

ANY TEMPORARY GAS?