Apply for a Sidewalk Seating Area Permit

If you would like to provide sidewalk seating for your patrons, you will need a Temporary Use Permit. To apply for the permit, follow the steps below.

Online Form

Create a Citizen Access account 

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

Make sure you have time to apply

This application will take about 30 minutes once you've gathered the required information identified in the steps below. 

Make sure you have all the required information

Before you get started, make sure you have the following information or documentation ready:

  • If the applicant is not the adjacent property owner, obtain a permission letter from the owner.
  • Obtain a certificate of insurance listing the City of Grand Rapids as additional insured with minimum liability coverage of $500,000.
  • Draw a site plan. The site plan needs to be to scale with dimensions including the size and placement of the proposed seating area, furnishings, entrances/exits, and clear path of pedestrian travel; along with any railings, canopies, cooking appliances, heaters, temporary electrical cords, and other relevant information. Note: An example of outdoor seating layouts is available under the 'Related Links' on this page.
  • If the seating area will include any tents or canopies, obtain copies of the flame resistance certificate(s) from the tent manufacturer or rental company.
  • Draw any temporary signs and include sign dimensions.

Check to see if your project has additional requirements:

  • Planning Approval - a separate application is required if new or expanded alcohol service is proposed for the seating area and it has not already been approved in writing by the Planning Commission or Planning Director. Call (616) 456-4100 and ask to speak with a Planner.
  • Electrical Permit - required if the seating area will use a portable generator, temporary drop service, etc., for electricity. An electrical permit can only be obtained by a licensed electrical contractor.
  • Mechanical Permit - required if propane, liquid, or other fuel will be used in the seating area for cooking or heating. A mechanical permit can only be obtained by a licensed mechanical contractor.

Apply online

Login to Citizen Access and choose the Planning Applications category using the link below. Select Temporary Use Permit - Private Property, Sidewalk Seating, ArtPrize Installation:

Apply online for a Sidewalk Seating Area Permit

We'll review your application

Expect to hear from us within 1-2 business days. We'll email you to confirm receipt of your application. Keep in mind that you might need to revise your application or attachments if we notice any missing or incorrect information.

Pay your permit fee

When your application is approved, we'll notify you of the fee amount. You'll be able to login to Citizen Access and pay with your credit/debit card. We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover for online payments.

Enjoy your sidewalk seating area

Upon payment, we'll send you the permit by email.

Paper Form

We don't accept printed applications for this service

You can visit our office if you need help applying through Citizen Access. You can find our address in the Contact Us section of this page. We're happy to help you fill out an application!

Phone

Call us for instructions

You can find our number in the Contact Us section of this page. We'll get you all the information you need to apply for your Sidewalk Seating Area Permit. We don't take applications over the phone, but we'll make sure you have everything you need to get your application approved.

In Person

Make sure you have all the required information

Before you get started, make sure you have the following information or documentation ready:

  • If the applicant is not the adjacent property owner, obtain a permission letter from the owner.
  • Obtain a certificate of insurance listing the City of Grand Rapids as additional insured with minimum liability coverage of $500,000.
  • Draw a site plan. The site plan needs to be to scale with dimensions including the size and placement of the proposed seating area, furnishings, entrances/exits, and clear path of pedestrian travel; along with any railings, canopies, cooking appliances, heaters, temporary electrical cords, and other relevant information. Note: An example of outdoor seating layouts is available under the 'Related Links' on this page.
  • If the seating area will include any tents or canopies, obtain copies of the flame resistance certificate(s) from the tent manufacturer or rental company.
  • Draw any temporary signs and include sign dimensions.

Check to see if your project has additional requirements:

  • Planning Approval - a separate application is required if new or expanded alcohol service is proposed for the seating area and it has not already been approved in writing by the Planning Commission or Planning Director. Call (616) 456-4100 and ask to speak with a Planner.
  • Electrical Permit - required if the seating area will use a portable generator, temporary drop service, etc., for electricity. An electrical permit can only be obtained by a licensed electrical contractor.
  • Mechanical Permit - required if propane, liquid, or other fuel will be used in the seating area for cooking or heating. A mechanical permit can only be obtained by a licensed mechanical contractor.

Come to our office and fill out an application

We'll help you apply for your Sidewalk Seating Area Permit online through Citizen Access.

We'll review your application

Expect to hear from us within 1-2 business days. We'll email you to confirm receipt of your application. Keep in mind that you might need to revise your application or attachments if we notice any missing or incorrect information.  When approved, your permit will be delivered by email.

Pay your permit fee

When your application is approved, we'll notify you of the fee amount. For in person payments, we accept cash, check or money order, and Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.

Enjoy your sidewalk seating area

Upon payment, we'll send you the permit by email.