Awnings are a highly effective means of enhancing a retail streetscape. They also create shelter from inclement weather and minimize heat gain inside of buildings. They aid in storefront recognition and help pedestrians view merchandise in the storefront windows by reducing glare.
Applications for Awning permits are obtained from the Planning and Development Customer Service Center. Each permit application must include the following items:
A Building Permit from the Planning and Development Department.
A Vegetative Impact Permit from the Urban Forestry Division (contact 919-872-4115), if the installation of awnings is likely to impact City trees. The Urban Forestry Division must be notified prior to the installation of any building encroachments. No pruning of City trees is permitted until a Vegetative Impact Permit is approved.
A Facade Grant application if awnings are installed as part of Façade Grant work (contact 919-807-8482 for more information).
At least two sketches or photographs of the building facade - one directly from the front, and another from one side showing where the awnings are to be installed, their finished height above the sidewalk, and all streetscape materials (trees, signs, etc.) and building features (exterior lighting, signs, etc.) within 6 feet of the installed awnings.
Details of the awnings themselves, including dimensions, materials and framing, color(s), and associated signage (if any).
Proof of a valid Insurance Policy that provides a minimum liability of one million dollars. The City of Raleigh must be additionally insured under the policy.
A written Indemnity Agreement satisfactory to the City Attorney that will hold harmless the City, its officers, councilors, and employees, for any loss or liability or damage, including expenses and costs, for bodily or personal injury, and for property damage sustained by a person as a result of the negligent installation, use, or maintenance of a permitted public space within the City of Raleigh (see Appendix Section 5 for sample Indemnity Agreement).
- Established businesses requesting permits may produce a copy of the active Proof of Insurance.
- Business owners requesting multiple Minor Encroachment Permits for use of public space at one location, for one business, can use one Proof of Insurance to cover all minor encroachment requests as long as the City is additionally insured under the policy.
- Building Permit
- Minor Encroachment Permit
- Vegetation Impact Permit (if needed)
All fees are available in the Development Fee Schedule.
- One-time permits are valid as long as the permitted use remains effective. Any time the scope of use, ownership, or location changes, permit application must be resubmitted.
- At the time of submittal of permit applications, applicants are also encouraged to provide contact email address that will be added to a listserv created for permit holders. Downtown Permits Office maintains record of all permits including contact information.
- The CSC notifies applicants regarding the status of their permit approval.
- The permit holder is liable for all damages and repairs to the streetscape, trees and vegetation, sidewalks, streets, or other public amenities that directly relate to the use of the permitted space.
- NOTE: The City Façade Rehabilitation Grant Program provides limited matching grants for installation of awnings (contact the Urban Design Center at 919-807-8482 for details).
- The Planning and Zoning Division notifies permit holders of violations.
- The permit holder is responsible for remedying the violation within the time period specified in the notice. Beyond that, fines or subsequent revocation of permits applies as per the standard procedure outlined in Section I.D.3 of this handbook.
- Permit violations incur a first time fine of $100. Subsequent violations are $200 for each occurrence and permits are revoked if a third violation occurs within a fiscal year.
For awnings to be permitted within downtown public spaces, all of the following standards must be met.
- The bottom edge of any awning must be a minimum of 8 feet above sidewalk grade.
- Awnings may extend into public space 6 feet from the building front.
- Awnings must maintain a minimum clear distance of 3 feet from any tree branch, and 1 foot from projecting signage.
Fayetteville Street Location Standards:
- Awnings may extend into public space 12 feet or to the closest edge of the Garden Zone.
- Awnings must be mounted and supported by the building. No portion of the awning can touch the ground.
- Awnings may be constructed of metal, canvas, or fire resistant acrylic.
- Awnings must be in proportion to the overall building façade and match the width of the window or storefront opening.
- Use of one long awning across more than one building is not allowed. Each building must have a separate awning on its front.
- Upper floor awnings must be mounted within the window opening.
- Awnings are encouraged to be variations on the shed roof form.
- Signage on awnings must meet the City Code specifications. Refer to City Code Sec. 10-2083.2 for more information.
- Internal illumination of awnings is not permitted.
- Awnings must be kept clean and in good condition at all times.
- Any damaged awning fabric or framework must be replaced or removed promptly.
- Any pruning of nearby tree branches can only be done by qualified persons under contract by tenant/owner and under permit by the Urban Forester (contact 919-996-4643).
- Permits may be denied if the proposed level of pruning is deemed unhealthy for city trees by the Urban Forester or his/her staff.
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