Standards for Private Use of Public Spaces


Jump To:

 
PUPS Update Permitting Overview Responsibilities of Permit Holders Contacts Minor Encroachments Awnings Exterior & Accent Lighting Overhead Signs A-frame Signs Hospitality Permits Fee Schedule Glossary Maintenance Responsibilities Facade Rehabilitation Grant Program

A Downtown Raleigh Urban Design Guide

This guide provides a framework for private use of the public space* in Downtown Raleigh. It outlines basic procedures and standards for approving a variety of private uses of sidewalks and other public rights-of-way spaces, toward creating an active, accessible, and vibrant urban environment. In doing so, it also recognizes the inherent relationship between the vitality of private property and the increased economic and pedestrian activities of the street. The guide assists individuals interested in generating on-street activity achieve their goals quickly and easily.

PUPS Update

The Downtown PUPS regulations were first adopted by the City Council in 2007 and amended once in 2008. The current regulations apply to specific Downtown limits only. An update to the Downtown Private Use of Public Space (PUPS) was initiated in 2015. Staff had started work on auditing this program with stakeholder input to prepare appropriate updates to the standards, policies, and processes regulated by this program for permits issued for FY 15-16. However, larger citywide issues on outdoor dining took priority and the update process to the handbook has been put on hold since Summer of 2015. Citywide outdoor seating and pushcart vending ordinances have been adopted and those supersede PUPs regulations for those uses citywide.

If you have questions or comments on this update process, please contact planner Dhanya Sandeep.

Permitting Overview

Area:
The standards and procedures outlined in this document apply to all areas within the Downtown Overlay District (DOD), and three adjacent Pedestrian Business Overlay Districts - Glenwood South, the North Person Street retail area (Oakwood-Mordecai), and the Peace Street retail area.  For lots at corners of Salisbury and Wilmington Streets and intersecting cross-streets, the regulations apply around the corner of the intersecting street, to as deep along Salisbury or Wilmington as the edge of the individual lot for which the permit is requested. This special treatment is consistent with another of the "5 in 5" goals of the Livable Streets initiative: to "complete a Fayetteville Street Renaissance." The standards seek to build on the sense of place established by the Street's recent redesign, enlisting public spaces to foster new civic and economic activity in the downtown core.

Applicability:
These standards apply to newsracks, outdoor dining, street performances, pushcart vending, mail drop-off boxes, and certain minor encroachments, including outdoor merchandise, street furniture and accessories, awnings, lighting, signage, and Façade Grant elements (see Glossary Section 6).

The standards and procedures outlined in this handbook do not apply to the following activities: special events, street closings, public parks, and Major Encroachments, that are handled separately by the designated City Department, Division, or Agency. For information regarding these exempt uses, please contact the following:

back to the top

Responsibilities of Permit Holders

All private uses of public spaces require a valid City of Raleigh permit approving the specific use. See Appendix Sections 1 and 2 for permit fees and staff contact information. 

Please Note:

  • Established businesses requesting permits for use of public spaces must produce a copy of Proof of Insurance, if the proposed use is an extension of the operating business and on the same premise.
  • 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.
  • Individual publishers or distributors requesting permits for use of public spaces may produce a single copy of Proof of Insurance for placing newsracks in multiple locations.
  • Permit holders and their employees must comply with the applicable permit standards and procedures.

Permit Validity & Renewals:
Permits are valid for one year (July 1st - June 30th) and expire on June 30th, except for minor encroachments (with the exception of outdoor merchandise) which do not require annual renewal.  Annual renewal applications for allocated spots may be submitted as early as June 1st but no later than June 30th or the permits will be considered expired. Permits for qualifying locations that are available are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The time of submittal of the complete application, as validated by the permits officer will be stamped and recorded. For multiple permit requests received for one qualifying location, a lottery will be executed for assigning the spots. All site-specific permits will be issued after a site inspection is completed by the Zoning Department Inspection Officer.

All issued permits are location-specific (except for street performers). If within a given year of receiving permit, the applicant desires to change location, an application and the applicable fees will have to be submitted for the new location. Permits for qualifying locations that are available are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The time of submittal of the complete application, as validated by the permits officer, will be stamped and recorded. For multiple permit requests received for one qualifying location, a lottery will be executed for assigning the spots. All site-specific permits will be issued after a site inspection is completed by the Zoning Department Inspection Officer.

Applicants must also reapply whenever the nature of use, ownership, scope, or location of the permitted uses change. The permit holder is responsible for ensuring the proper validity and timely renewal of permits as required for the approved use of public spaces.

During special events approved by the City such as festivals, parades etc. the annual permits may be temporarily suspended for pushcart vendors and street performers. The permit holder requires special permission from the special event coordinator/ sponsor to use the public space within the designated boundary of the special event area. The standards of performance and procedures for use of public space during special events may vary. The permit holder is responsible for keeping track of upcoming special events and the designated boundaries that may affect their business. For more details on Downtown Special Events, please contact the Downtown Raleigh Alliance at 919-832-1231.

At the time of submittal of permit applications, applicants are also encouraged to provide contact email addresses that will be added to a listserv created for permit holders. The Development Services Customer Service Center (DSCSC) maintains record of all permits including contact information.

Maintenance Liability:
Any private party receiving a permit for use of public space assumes responsibility for maintaining the spaces used by that activity.  Areas must be kept clean and free of obstructions that impede pedestrian movement.  Standards of maintenance must be consistent with those outlined in the City of Raleigh publication Fayetteville Street Renaissance Maintenance Partnership, Programs and Policies (see Appendix Section 4). 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. The permit holder is also responsible for the temporary removal of private materials or accessories from the permitted space for specific maintenance services deemed necessary by the responsible City Department, Division, or Agency. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance notifies permit holders via email at least 24 hours in advance of event related street closures approved through City Council.

Referrals to Encroachment Committee and Appeals:
The DSCSC coordinates the review of all permit requests outlined in this handbook. However, for a particularly complex permit request, or one of a potentially precedent-setting nature, the DCSCS staff may forward the request to the City's inter-departmental Encroachment Committee for expedited review. PLEASE NOTE: Outdoor dining areas seeking to make permanent changes to public space must seek Encroachment Committee review. Such changes may include (but are not limited to) installation of affixed fences, ground-mounted lighting or heating fixtures, in-ground landscaping, or altering portions of the sidewalk grade. The DSCSC will inform the applicant of such finding at the earliest possible date, and assist in scheduling the request before the Committee. The Encroachment Committee meets the first and third Mondays of each month. The submittal deadline for the Committee agenda is generally two weeks before the meeting date (contact 919-996-2410 for additional details).

Additionally, if DSCSC staff members determine they cannot approve a given permit request, the applicant can elect to appeal that decision to the Encroachment Committee.  If the Encroachment Committee denies the permit request, the decision may be appealed to the City Council through a Petition of Citizen. Details on filing Citizen Petitions can be obtained from the City Clerk's office by contacting 919-996-3040.

Violations:
All permit holders are expected to adhere to the location, design, operation, and maintenance standards and procedures outlined in this handbook.  Non-compliance with respective standards and procedures is a violation.  Zoning officials notify permit holders of violations.

Fines and Revocation:
Upon receiving a violation notice, permit holders are expected to remedy the violation within the time period specified in the notice. However, if the violations are not remedied within the time granted, violators may be subject to fines and possible permit revocation. Once permits are revoked, the permit holder is required to reapply for further consideration.

Revocation Criteria:
Permits can also be revoked if any of the following occurs:

  • permit holder fails to maintain initial qualifications
  • data or information is falsely represented in the application
  • violation of the Local, State and Federal health regulations
  • conducts business in an unlawful or disorderly * manner or in such a way that constitutes a menace or detriment to the health, safety, or welfare of the public
  • three police reports have been filed for *disorderly conduct by the permit holder within a fiscal year or
  • three violations of any section of this handbook within a fiscal year

(*To qualify as grounds for revocation, disorderly conduct/manner must be validated by an officer of the Raleigh Police Department. Predatory filing of police reports against individuals will not qualify.)

back to the top

Contacts

The Development Services Customer Service Center (DSCSC) issues all public space use permits in Downtown Raleigh (see preceding maps for the applicable areas).  The office assists applicants to ensure that all required forms, information, and fees are properly submitted.  The DSCSC reserves the authority to determine the completeness of permit requests and their adherence to the desired performance standards and procedures. If, at any time staff determines that the request is incomplete and does not meet the desired standards and procedures, they could deny permits or add further conditions to be met as part of the permit issuance. Any Minor Encroachment permit request may be routed to the City Encroachment Committee for further review and scrutiny as deemed appropriate by the DSCSC or the applicant as part of an appeal (see Section I.D.3 for details).  Applications are routed to other departments as needed for review, and permit data is entered, stored, and retrieved from a common database (Integrated Raleigh Information Service) that is accessible to all City departments.

Permits Administration:
The DSCSC serves as the chief contact point for applicants and as the coordinating agency for permit management.  Various City departments and associated agencies assist the DSCSC in the permit approval process as outlined in the table below:

Department/Agency Area of Responsibility
Development Services, Development Services Customer Service Center One-Stop Permits Administration and Management
Finance Department/Revenue Services Division Licenses
Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) Permit Monitoring, Public Information
Department of City Planning, Zoning Division Code Enforcement, Enforcement of Civil Penalty
Police Department Monitoring and Law Enforcement
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department Maintenance Evaluation and Coordination
Department of City Planning, Raleigh Urban Design Center Design Review, Facade Grants

The DSCSC is responsible for approving the specified permits and for tracking the permit status (i.e., expiration dates, validity etc.). They also periodically review the permitting process and fees, and recommend changes as needed.

Depending upon the complexity and completeness of the permit application, DSCSC staff outlines a tentative timetable for application approval.  Urban Design Center staff also provides details about the City's Façade Rehabilitation Grant Program (see Appendix Section 6), which assists property owners with matching grants for awnings, attached signs, or other upgrades to building fronts. Facade Grant applications are administered by the Urban Design Center.

All issued permits are location-specific (except for Street Performers). If, within a given year of receiving permit, the applicant desires to change location, the application and the applicable fees will have to be submitted for the new location. Permits for qualifying locations that are available  are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The time of submittal of the complete application, as validated by the permits officer, will be stamped and recorded. For multiple permit requests received for one qualifying location, a lottery will be executed for assigning the spots. All site-specific permits will be issued after a site inspection is completed by the Zoning Code Enforcement Officer.

Inspections:
Permittees and their spaces are inspected by the Zoning Enforcement Division to ensure that permit provisions are being met.  The Zoning Enforcement Division notifies permit holders of any violations.

Monitoring:
The Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) monitors compliance of street- level activities. DRA staff may issue friendly warnings and report violations to the City for code enforcement. The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department's Maintenance Division monitors and coordinates maintenance of public spaces within Downtown. The Urban Forestry Division of the City's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department oversees activities which impact city trees (pruning, removal, replacement, etc.).

Notification and Enforcement:
The Zoning Enforcement Division is responsible for determining whether permit violations have occurred and for notifying permit holders of the need to remedy those violations within the time period specified in the notice. After regular business hours (5 p.m. to 7 a.m.), the Downtown District Police Department is responsible for enforcement. Permit holders who do not comply with permit provisions within an allowed time period are subject to fines or subsequent revocation of permits.

Contact Information:

NC ABC Permit - NC ABC Commission: 919-779-0700

City Beer/Wine License - Revenue Services Division: 919-996-5130

Building Permit - Development Services Division: 919-996-2495

Electrical Permit (Signs): 919-996-2472

Home Based Businesses: 919-996-2495

Minor Encroachment Permit: 919-996-2472

Newsracks: 919-278-6209

Outdoor Dining: 919-278-6209

Parklets: 919-278-6209

Permanent Encroachment - Development Services Division: 919-996-2410

Public Art - Raleigh Arts Commission: 919-996-3610

Raleigh Downtown Police Department: 919-996-3855

Sign Permit: 919-996-2472

Special Events - Downtown Raleigh Alliance: 919-832-1231

Special Events in Parks - Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources: 919-996-6209

Street Performances - Downtown Permits Office: 919-278-6209

Pushcart Vending - Downtown Permits Office: 919-278-6209

Vegetation Impact Permit - Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department (Tree maintenance)/Urban Forestry: 919-996-4858

Minor Encroachments

Minor Encroachments - Standard Detail Drawings

Encroachments are defined as the use, placement, or extension of private uses into, upon, over, or under public space or a publicly-owned property. 

Major Encroachments are defined as uses of mostly permanent nature that may have long-term impact on public space and may not be easily removed. These requests are handled through the City's Encroachment Committee (contact 919-996-2410 for more information).

Minor Encroachments are defined as uses of mostly temporary or minor nature, posing little long-term physical impact on public space and which can be removed with relative ease if desired.  The standards herein apply to the following minor encroachments: Outdoor Merchandise

  1. Street Furniture and Accessories
  2. Awnings
  3. Exterior Building and Accent Lighting
  4. Overhead Signage
  5. A-Frame Signage

Standards for All Minor Encroachments:

Minor encroachments cannot be placed, connected, attached, fastened, installed, used, erected, or maintained in public space without the appropriate permits.  To be approved, any minor encroachment must meet the following standards:

  • cannot be easily sited on the private property due to physical constraints,
  • must not block access to public street furniture and other amenities
  • must not locate:
  1. within 5 feet of public signs, utility boxes/ vaults, or areas regularly serviced by City Departments;
  2. within 5 foot radius of any building corner adjacent to a street intersection;
  3. within 5 foot radius of tree grates;
  4. within 5 feet of a fire hydrant;
  5. at any location where unobstructed passage for pedestrian traffic is reduced to less than 5 feet (7 feet on Fayetteville Street). Where existing obstructions are present (such as fire hydrants), the corridor can be measured to go around these obstructions. For tree grates, the corridor is measured from the outer edge of the grate, unless an ADA-compliant grate is installed, in which case the 5 feet can be measured directly from the tree trunk.

Referrals to Encroachment Committee and Appeals:

The Development Services Customer Service Center (DSCSC) coordinates the review of all permit requests outlined in this handbook.  However, for a particularly complex permit request, or one of a potentially precedent-setting nature, the DSCSC staff may forward the request to the City's inter-departmental Encroachment Committee for expedited review.  The DSCSC will inform the applicant of such finding at the earliest possible date, and assist in scheduling the request before the committee. The Encroachment Committee meets the first and third Mondays of each month. The submittal deadline for the Committee agenda is generally two weeks before the meeting date. Please contact Debbie Wyatt for additional details.

Additionally, if DSCSC staff members determine they cannot approve a given permit request, the applicant can elect to appeal that decision to the Encroachment Committee.  If the Encroachment Committee denies the permit request, the decision may be appealed to the City Council through a Petition of Citizen. Details on filing Citizen Petitions can be obtained from the City Clerk's office by contacting 919-996-3040.

CAUTION: Special Care Is Required

Around City Street Trees:

Trees planted on City property within the Downtown Overlay District and on Fayetteville Street represent an asset that is collectively owned and maintained by the City of Raleigh for the benefit of all. Maintenance activities will not be permitted or undertaken that will negatively impact the uniformity of a streetscape or the health of the trees. Maintenance activities undertaken by City of Raleigh staff on city owned trees are limited to procedures intended to provide minimum clearances around streetlights, traffic signals and signs, and for pedestrian and vehicular passage. Other categories of pruning would be for clearance of rooflines and facades, and for the removal of dead, broken, or crossed branches. All pruning must be done in strict accordance with City standards. Those wishing to undertake maintenance activities on city-owned trees within the DOD trees must first obtain a Vegetative Impact Permit from the Urban Forester (contact 919-872-4115) and must abide by all conditions detailed therein. Permit requests may be denied if the health of the tree or the appearance of the streetscape would be negatively impacted by the proposed activity. No private maintenance activities will be permitted on city-owned trees on Fayetteville Street.

NOTE: Minor Encroachments which are part of building facade improvements may qualify for Façade Grant assistance.

The City's Façade Rehabilitation Grant Program helps businesses and property owners in downtown and nearby older commercial areas upgrade and improve their building's exterior appearance to create an attractive environment for innovations and business activities. Qualifying improvements include removal of false fronts (such as aluminum panels), repair or replacement of windows, doors and cornices, repair or replacement of façade materials, signage, awnings, exterior lighting, exterior painting (when part of a larger rehab effort) and architectural projections that are within 2 feet of the façade of the building. For more information on the Façade Grant Program, see Appendix Section 6.

All Minor Encroachment Permits are issued at the DSCSC.  Minor Encroachment permits are issued one-time and serve as a blanket for all types of Minor Encroachments listed in this Handbook, except for outdoor merchandise, which requires annual renewal permits. Façade Grant Permits are issued at the Raleigh Urban Design Center (contact 919-807-8482 for more information).

Minor Encroachment Permit Application

back to the top

Awnings

Awnings - Standard Detail Drawings

Design Strategy:

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.

Application Process:

Applications for Awning permits are obtained from the Development Services Customer Service Center (DSCSC). Each permit application must include the following items:

A Building Permit from the DSCSC.

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 an 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).

Please Note:

  • 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.

Required Permits:

  • Building Permit
  • Minor Encroachment Permit
  • Vegetation Impact Permit (if needed)

Fee Schedule:

Building Permit (see "Minimum Permit Fee" in Development Fee Schedule)
Minor Encroachment Permit (one-time): $150
Vegetation Impact Permit (if needed): $60

Permit Provisions:

  • 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 DSCSC 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).

Violations:

  • 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.

Standards:

For awnings to be permitted within downtown public spaces, all of the following standards must be met.

Location:

  • 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.

Design:

  • 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.

Maintenance:

  • 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.

Checklist:

  1. Building Permit
  2. Vegetation Impact Permit (if needed)
  3. Façade Grant Application (if desired)
  4. Completed Minor Encroachment Application (check "Awning")
  5. Fees
  6. Proof of Insurance
  7. Indemnity Agreement

back to the top

Exterior & Accent Lighting

Exterior & Accent Lighting - Standard Detail Drawings

Design Strategy:

Exterior building and accent lighting offer dramatic ways to highlight architectural features and bring buildings to life during evening hours. They can also help light the sidewalk and enhance the safety of public spaces. Exterior building and accent lighting lends brightness, festivity, and vitality to an active urban environment.

Application Process:

Applications for Exterior Building and Accent Lighting Permits are obtained from the Development Services Customer Service Center (DSCSC). Each permit application must include the following items:

  1. An Electrical Permit from Development Services for fixture installation (contact the DSCSC at 919-996-2495).
  2. A Vegetative Impact Permit from the Urban Forestry Division (contact 919-996-4858), if the installation of awnings is likely to impact city trees in front of buildings. 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.
  3. A Facade Grant application if awnings are installed as part of Façade Grant work (contact 919-996-4643 for more information).
  4. At least two sketches or photographs of the building facade - one directly from the front, and another from one side showing where the fixtures are to be installed, their finished height above the sidewalk, and all streetscape materials (trees, signs, etc.) and building features (awnings, signs, etc.) within 6 feet of the installed light fixture.
  5. Details of the fixtures themselves, including dimensions, materials and framing, color(s).
  6. 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.
  7. 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 an 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).
  8. Fee payment (see Fee Schedule below).

Please Note:

  • 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.

Required Permits:

  • Electrical Permit
  • Minor Encroachment Permit

Fee Schedule:

Electrical Permit (see "Minimum Permit Fee" in Development Fee Schedule)        
Minor Encroachment Permit (one-time): $150

Permit Provisions:

  • 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.
  • An Electrical Permit is required for lighting fixture installation and can be obtained from Development Services.
  • 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 DSCSC 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 Grant Program provides limited matching grants for installation of lighting fixtures. Contact the Urban Design Center at 919-996-4643 for details.
  • All lighting fixtures extending into public space must meet the standards and specifications of this handbook and the City Code (Sec. 10-2089).
  • Tree-affixed lighting is prohibited.

Violations:

  • 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.

Standards:

For exterior building and accent lighting to be permitted within downtown public spaces, all of the following standards must be met.

Location:

  • Building mounted light fixtures must not extend more than 18 inches into public space if less than 7 feet above sidewalk grade.

Design:

  • Light fixtures must be shielded to prevent glare for pedestrians, motorists, adjacent businesses, residents, or tenants. For example, bulbs (lamps) must not extend past the fixture housing.
  • All lighting fixtures must meet the standards of the City Lighting Ordinance. See Sec. 10-2089 for more information.
  • Light fixtures must be directed at the building or the ground, keeping uplighting to a strict minimum.
  • Rotating, blinking or strobe lights are prohibited, unless approved by the City Council.
  • Color, neon and LED lights are permitted.
  • The targeted combined minimum luminance level for the sidewalk area is 2 footcandles, with an average uniformity ratio of 3:1. This uniformity ratio applies only to horizontal footcandle levels.

Operation:

  • Stores are encouraged to keep storefront lights on until midnight.
  • Buildings may be lit from an adjacent building with mutual agreement between the building owners.

Maintenance:

  • The light fixtures must at all times be maintained in good condition.
  • Burned-out light bulbs must be replaced within 48 hours. Damaged light fixtures must be replaced or removed within 10 days of discovery.
  • 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

Checklist:

  1. Electrical Permit
  2. Completed Minor Encroachment Application (check "Exterior Building and Accent Lighting")
  3. Fees
  4. Proof of Insurance
  5. Indemnity Agreement
  6. Facade Grant Application (if desired)

back to the top

Overhead Signs

Effective signage is essential to the success of retail and, to a lesser extent, other building types and land uses.  An emphasis on quality and creativity is encouraged. The signage of each establishment should express its brand identity and contribute to the streetscape and civic spirit of Raleigh.

Application Process:

Applications for Overhead Sign permits are obtained from the Development Services Customer Service Center (DSCSC). Each permit application must include the following items:

  1. A Building Permit from the DSCSC.
  2. An Electrical Permit from the DSCSC for installation of sign lighting.
  3. A Vegetative Impact Permit from the Urban Forestry Division (contact 919-996-4858), if the installation of sign fixtures is likely to impact city trees in front of buildings. 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.
  4. A Facade Grant application if signs are installed as part of Façade Grant work (contact 919-996-4643 for more information).
  5. At least two sketches or photographs of the building facade - one directly from the front, and another from one side showing where the signs are to be installed, their finished height above the sidewalk, and all streetscape materials (trees, light fixtures, etc.) and building features (awnings, lights, etc.) within 6 feet of the installed signage.
  6. Details of the signage themselves, including dimensions, materials and framing, color(s).
  7. 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.
  8. 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 an 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).
  9. Fee payment (see Fee Schedule below).

*Please Note:

  • 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.

Required Permits:

  • Building Permit
  • Electrical Permit
  • Sign Permit
  • Vegetation Impact Permit (If needed)
  • Minor Encroachment Permit (check "Signage")

Fee Schedule:

The following fees are listed in the Development Fee Schedule (see "Minimum Permit Fee"):

Building Permit: $80
Electrical Permit (if needed): $80
Sign Permit: $80

The following fees are NOT listed in the Development Fee Schedule:

Vegetation Impact Permit (if needed): $60
Minor Encroachment Permit (one-time): $150

Permit Provisions:

  • 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.
  • An Electrical Permit is required for fixture installation and can be obtained from the DSCSC.
  • A Building Permit is required for building mounted signage and can be obtained from the DSCSC.
  • 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. The DSCSC maintains record of all permits including contact information.
  • The DSCSC 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 Grant Program provides limited matching grants for installation of signage.  Contact the Urban Design Center at 919-996-4643 for details.
  • Tree-affixed lighting is prohibited.
  • All signage extending over public space must meet the standards and specifications of this handbook and the City Sign Code (Sec. 10-2083).

Violations:

  • 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.

Standards:

For overhead signs to be permitted within downtown public spaces, all of the following standards must be met.

Location:

Projecting Signs:

  • Signs must be hung perpendicular to the face of the building, except for corners where they may be hung at a 45 degree angle (measured from the corner) to the two building sides.
  • Signs must not project more than 6 feet into the right of way from the building line.
  • A 9 foot clearance must be maintained between the bottom of the signage and the sidewalk grade.
  • Preferred signage locations include sign bands above the transom and on awnings.  Corner buildings are encouraged to use projecting signs on their corners.

Awning Signs:

  • A clearance of 8 feet must be maintained between the bottom of the awning and the sidewalk grade.

Logo Signs:

  • Logo signs can extend a maximum of 3 feet from the building wall when used above the storefront, with a clearance below of 8 feet in height. They can extend a maximum of 5 feet when used above the storefront, with a clearance height greater than 8 feet.

Design:

  • Signage must be compatible in scale, style, and composition with the building architecture and storefront design as a whole.
  • Diverse graphic solutions are encouraged.
  • All mechanical and electrical equipment must be concealed. All necessary access panels must be located at the store side of signage and designed as an integral part of the graphic design.  Threaded rods or anchor bolts concealed from public view must be used to float elements from a mounting surface.  Angle clips are not permitted.
  • Electrical signs must be directly wired to the building's electrical service. Electrical signs should bear the U.L. (Underwriters Laboratories) label as required by applicable codes, and all labels excluding the city sign permit label must be concealed from public view.
  • Light leaks not integral to the graphic design are prohibited.  Light rays from signs must shine back on the property and not spill over the property in any direction, except by indirect reflection.  Light projecting above the storefront must be minimized.
  • There must be an emphasis on durable materials and quality manufacturing of the signage.

Discouraged Signage:

  • signs made of paper, cardboard, Styrofoam-type materials, formed plastic, injected molded plastic, or similar materials, which do not convey a sense of permanence or quality
  • signs attached with suction cups or tape,
  • signs constructed of luminous vacuum formed plastic letters
  • signs with smoke-emitting components
  • Prohibited signage: LED changeable copy signs (unless approved by City Council)

Projecting Signs:

  • Text and logo can project a maximum of ¾ inch from the background
  • Projecting signs can be internally or externally lit
  • Other City Code specifications must be met (refer to City Code Sec. 10-2083.2).

Awning Signs:

  • Only business name, street address, building name, or logo is allowed on an overhead sign.  No other advertising is allowed.
  • Awning signage will be subtracted from the total signage allowance.
  • Awning sign letters must not exceed 12 inches in height.

Logo Signs:

  • The graphic image must be based upon the tenant's actual logo.
  • Signs can be externally or internally illuminated when placed above a storefront.
  • Signs must be externally illuminated when mounted on a wall surface below the top of the storefront.
  • Federal and State-registered logo signs must not exceed 12¼ square feet and 3½ feet in any dimension. That includes its casings, supports, and backings.

Operation:

  • Signs must not obscure a building's important architectural features, particularly in the case of historic buildings.
  • Signage construction and installation must comply with all applicable Local and State codes.
  • Illuminated signs must avoid colors red, yellow, and green when adjacent to a light-controlled vehicular intersection.
  • City trees may not be pruned to increase sign visibility except with an approved Vegetative Impact Permit from the City Urban Forester.

Maintenance:

  • Signage must be kept clean, structurally sound, and in a visually-appealing condition at all times.
  • Damaged signs must be repaired or removed within a reasonable time limit from the time of discovery.
  • Any tree pruning associated with keeping clearance from extending branches can only be done by qualified persons under contract by tenant/owner and under permit by the Urban Forester.
  • Permits may be denied if the proposed degree of pruning is deemed unhealthy for a city tree by the Urban Forester or his/her staff.

Checklist:

  1. Building Permit (for building mounted signs)
  2. Electrical Permit
  3. Facade Grant Application Form (if desired)
  4. Vegetation Impact Permit (if needed)
  5. Sign Permit
  6. Completed Minor Encroachment Application (check "Overhead Sign")
  7. Fees
  8. Proof of Insurance
  9. Indemnity Agreement

back to the top

A-frame Signs

A-frame Signs - Standard Detailed Drawings

Design Strategy

A-frame signs, also known as sandwich boards, are temporary freestanding signs used to draw pedestrian traffic into a shop or restaurant.  They are effective in adding visual interest to the sidewalk while helping retail and restaurant establishments.

Application Process

Applications for A-frame Sign Permits are obtained from the Development Services Customer Service Center (DSCSC).  Each permit application must include the following items:

  1. A sketch plan or photographs showing proposed sign location and surrounding streetscape details covering 6 feet on either side of the proposed location including property lines, sidewalks, curb lines, lighting, trees indicating tree size, tree grates, planters, parking meters, benches, street signs, bus stops, and fire hydrants.
  2. Design of the sign - drawing or photographs, dimensions, materials specifications.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 an 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).
  5. Fee payment (see Fee Schedule below).

Please Note:

  • 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.

Required Permits:

  • Sign Permit
  • Minor Encroachment Permit

Permit Provisions:

  • 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.
  • The DSCSC maintains record of all permits including contact information.
  • 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 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.
  • Permit holders may be required to remove private materials or accessories temporarily to allow street, sidewalk, or utility access for maintenance operations or during approved special events. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance notifies permit holders via email at least 24 hours in advance of event related street closures approved through City Council.
  • All issued permits are location-specific. If within a given year of receiving a permit, the applicant desires to change location of business, the application will have to be resubmitted for the new location. However, fees will be waived if the issued permit is still valid during the time of re-submittal.
  • Signs within public space must also meet the standards and specifications of the City Sign Code (Sec. 10-2083).

Violations:

  • 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.

Standards:

For A-frame signs to be permitted within downtown public spaces, all of the following standards must be met.

Location:

  • Multi-tenant buildings are allowed one A-frame sign per storefront entrance.
  • An unobstructed sidewalk pedestrian passage a minimum of 5 feet in width must be maintained at all times parallel to the street. Where existing obstructions are present (such as fire hydrants), the corridor can be measured to go around these obstructions. For tree grates, the corridor is measured from the outer edge of the grate, unless an ADA-compliant grate is installed, in which case the 5 feet can be measured directly from the tree trunk.
  • Signs must be placed in front of the storefront in question and on the same side of the street.
  • Signs must not be affixed to street trees.
  • Signs must not obscure a building's important architectural features or the main building entrance.

Fayetteville Street Location Standards:

  • A-frame signs must allow an unobstructed 7 foot-wide pedestrian corridor parallel to the street at all times.
  • A-frame signs are allowed within 3 feet of the building wall (but not within 3 feet of building entrances) or between 9 feet and 12 feet from the building wall (provided they do not block sight distance triangles at street intersections).

Design:

  • A-frame signs can have a maximum area of 6 square feet with a maximum height of 3 feet and a 2 foot width.
  • Business name, logo, street address, building name of the business, food menu of the attached business, sale announcements, price tags, real estate sales, or directional or safety information is permitted on a freestanding sign.  The lettering must not exceed 80% of the board.  No other advertising is allowed on the signs.
  • A-frame signs must have locking arms or other stabilizing devices, and be of sufficient weight to resist wind gusts of up to 10 mph.
  • Freestanding signage is subtracted from the property's total signage allowance.

Operation:

  • A-frame signs must not block building entrances or exits.
  • A-frame signs can be displayed only during the hours of operation of the associated business.
  • A-frame signs must be removed at the end of business by the establishment holding the permit.
  • A-frame signs must be removed during approved special events.
  • A-frame signs must be removed during inclement weather and high wind conditions.

Maintenance:

  • Signage must be kept clean, structurally sound, and in visually-appealing condition at all times.

Checklist:

  • Completed Minor Encroachment Application Form (check "A-Frame Signs")
  • Completed Sign Permit Application
  • Fees
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Indemnity Agreement

Fee Schedule:

The fee for the following permit types can be found in the Development Fee Schedule (see "Minimum Permit Fee"):

Electrical
Accent Lighting Electrical
Sign
Overhead Sign
Building
A-Frame Sign
Home Occupation Use

The following fees are not listed in the Development Fee Schedule:

Newsrack: Fee Varies*
Outdoor Dining Outdoor Dining: $150
NC ABC License: Fee Varies*
City Wine/Beer License: Fee Varies*
Wake County Health Approval Letter: Fee Varies*
Outdoor Amplification: $200
Street Performances: $40 (Annually)
Pushcart Vending: $150
Wake County Health: Fee Varies*
Drop-Off Boxes/Mail Drop-Off Box: $15
Minor Encroachments/Encroachment Permit: $150
Encroachment: $150
Street Furniture: Encroachment   $150
Accessories: $150
Awning Encroachment: $150
Exterior Building Encroachment: $150
Encroachment   $150
Vegetative Impact Permit: $60

(Tree Pruning, etc.)

* Fee varies with nature, type and size of business

Contacts:

NC ABC Permit - NC ABC Commission: 919-779-0700

City Beer/Wine License - City of Raleigh Revenue Services Division: 919-996-5130

Building Permit - City of Raleigh Development Services Customer Service Center (DSCSC): 919-996-2495

Electrical Permits (Signs) - DSCSC: 919-996-2495

Home Based Businesses - DSCSC: 919-996-2495

Minor Encroachment Permit - DSCSC:919-996-2495 (signs and awnings) / 919-278-6209 (all others)

Newsracks - DSCSC: 919-278-6209

Outdoor Dining - DSCSC: 919-278-6209

Permanent Encroachment - City of Raleigh Development Services: 919-996-2495

Public Art - Raleigh Arts Commission: 919-996-3610

Raleigh Police Department - Raleigh Downtown Police Department: 919-996-3855

Sign Permit - DSCSC: 919-996-2495

Special Events - Downtown Raleigh Alliance: 919-832-1231

Special Events In Parks - City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department: 919-996-6468

Street Performances - DSCSC: 919-278-6209

Pushcart Vending - DSCSC: 919-278-6209

Vegetation Impact Permit - Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department (Tree maintenance, etc.)/Urban Forestry Division: 919-872-4115

back to the top

Fee Schedule

The following fees are listed in the Development Fee Schedule (see "Minimum Permit Fee"):

Home Occupation Use
Building Permit
Electrical Permit
Accent Electrical Lighting
Overhead Signs
A-Frame Signs

The following fees are NOT listed in the Development Fee Schedule:

Newsrack: $15 per rack - not to exceed $200 annually
Outdoor Dining: $150 annually
NC ABC License: Fee Varies*
City Wine/Beer License: Fee Varies*
Wake County Health Approval Letter: Fee Varies*
Outdoor Amplification: $200
Street Performances: $40 annually
Pushcart Vending: $150 annually
Wake County Health: Fee Varies*
Drop-Off Boxes/Mail Drop-Off Box: $15 annually
Minor Encroachments/Encroachment Permit: $150
Encroachment Renewal Fee: $50
Street Furniture/Accessories: Encroachment $150 (one time)
Awning Encroachment: $150 (one time)
Exterior Building Encroachment: $150 (one time)
Vegetative Impact Permit: $60

*Fee varies with nature, type and size of business.

Glossary

Artisan. A skilled worker who produces handicrafts.

Awning. A fixed, permanent, or retractable fabric cover that is attached to the wall of a building and that projects over an entrance or window into public space.

Cart Operation Area. The surface area required for the operation of a pushcart, measuring a maximum of 100 square feet (including the area immediately beneath the pushcart).

Competing Business. Businesses that are of similar nature or providing the same type of products or services.

Encroachment. Any privately-owned object, equipment, signage, or materials situated on, affixed to, or overhanging any public spaces including, but not limited to canopies, awnings, and street furniture.

Encroachment Committee. A committee comprised of representatives from various City departments that reviews and makes recommendations to the approval authority for proposed encroachments on public right-of-way. spaces.

Established Businesses. Businesses housed within a building or a permanent immobile structure, with frontage on the public right-of-way.

Garden Zone. On Fayetteville Street, the 19-foot wide area on each side of the street between the Walking Zone (immediately adjacent to the building fronts) and the street.

Handicraft. Products made by a silversmith, weaver, jeweler, candle maker, wood carver, needle crafter, quilter, potter, maker of fragrances/ incense, leatherworker, or makers of other handcrafted products.

Home-based Business. Any business where the primary office is located in the owner's home.

Illuminated Sign. Any sign lit by electricity or any other source of power, or illuminated in any manner.

Logo Signs. A type of projecting sign, the graphic image of which must be based upon the building tenant's business logo.

Merchandise. Items offered for retail sales including, but not limited, to plants, flowers, clothing, jewelry, ornaments, art work, food or beverages, or other goods or wares.

Minor Encroachments. Uses of a public space which are largely temporary or minor in nature, posing little long-term physical impact, and which can be removed with relative ease if desired.

Modular Newsrack. A newsrack designed with multiple separate enclosed compartments to accommodate at any one time the display, sale, or distribution of multiple distinct and separate newspapers or other publications.

Newsrack. Any self-service container, storage unit, or other dispenser installed, used, or maintained for the distribution of newspapers or other publications. A newsrack is typically designed as a single enclosed compartment.

Non-competing Businesses. Businesses that are not of similar nature or providing the same type of products or services.

Outdoor Dining Area. An area in front of or immediately adjacent to a restaurant and located in public space whereon tables, chairs, or benches are placed for dining purposes.

Outdoor Merchandise Area. An area in front of or immediately adjacent to a retail business where merchandise is located on a public sidewalk for the purposes of displaying, exhibiting, selling, or offering for sale merchandise.

Parklet. A Parklet is a publicly accessible temporary sidewalk extension in the right-of-way. An example would be a seating area that occupies a parking space outside a downtown business.

Private Use. Intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person or group or class of persons; not available to the general public.

The Downtown Private Use of Public Spaces handbook lists specific private uses that are permitted on the city’s public spaces subject to the issuance of a valid city permit. Permits are issued upon meeting all required standards specified for the respective private use within the PUPs Handbook and the City Code.

Projecting Sign. A sign end-mounted or otherwise attached to an exterior wall of a building, and which projects from the wall more than 6".

Public space. An interest in land to the City which provides for the perpetual right and privilege of the City, its agents, franchise holders, successors, and assigns to construct, install, improve, reconstruct, remove, replace, inspect, repair, maintain, and use a public street, including related and customary uses of street rights-of-way such as sidewalks, bike paths, landscaping, mass transit facilities, traffic control devices and signage, sanitary sewer, storm water drainage, water supply, cable television, electric power, gas, and telephone transmission and related purposes in, upon, over, below, and across the rights-of-way. The City is authorized to remove, and keep removed from the rights-of-way all trees, vegetation, and other obstructions as is determined to be necessary by the City to maintain, repair, and protect facilities located in the realm.

Pushcart. Wheeled cart which may be moved by one person without the assistance of a motor and which is designed and used for displaying, keeping, or storing any articles for sale by a vendor.

Pushcart Vendor. A person who offers for sale food, beverages, or other merchandise from a pushcart in public space.

Sale. An event or series of events during which goods, wares, and merchandise are offered for sale to the public.

Street. The term street, when used herein, shall be construed to embrace all streets, avenues, boulevards, roads, alleys, lanes, squares, bridges, viaducts, tunnels, causeways, and sidewalks, lying within the street realm, and all other public highways in the City.

Sidewalk. All the areas legally open to public use as a pedestrian public way between the curb line and public space boundary along the abutting property.

Sidewalk Clearance. Unobstructed sidewalk space open to pedestrian travel adjacent to streetscape elements (such as utility poles, vending carts, benches, or tree grates).

Sign. Any medium, including its structure and component parts, which is used or intended to be used to attract attention for identification, noncommercial expression, announcement, or advertising purposes.

Street Block Face. One side of a street between two consecutive street intersections.

Street Furniture. Benches, planters, flower boxes/pots, or other objects constructed or used outdoors.

Street Performances. Acting, singing, playing musical instruments, pantomime, mime, magic, dancing, juggling, or the sale of visual art and wares produced by the artist on site. The definition does not include picketing, parades, and other activities regulated elsewhere in the City Code.

Street Performers. Individuals who perform, as defined herein, on the streets of the City of Raleigh.

Treated Wood. Pressure treated wood utilizing preservative chemicals (copper sulphate, arsenate, etc.).

Vegetation Impact Permit. This permit defines the activities and conditions that are permitted to take place on trees that are located on the public right-of-way or public controlled areas. A request form must be submitted with the scope of work outlined and the work approved by the Urban Forester before the permit will be granted.

Vendor/ Artisan. A person who offers for sale crafts, non-food plants, or other goods which that individual has personally produced or created.

Walking Zone. On Fayetteville Street, the 12-foot wide zone along the storefronts on both sides of the street.

back to the top

Maintenance Responsibilities

General Standards:

Individuals or businesses receiving permits for private use of public spaces are required to:

  • Keep the activity area free of litter, debris, dirt, or discarded materials that might be deposited as a result of the approved activity
  • Keep sidewalk surfaces in the activity area free of grease, rust, paint, or other coatings or stains that might be deposited as a result of the approved activity
  • Report accidental spills, graffiti, vandalism, or other damage to sidewalks, trees, or streetscape features immediately to the designated City Department (919-996-6446; graffiti hotline: 919-996-6001).

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department's Maintenance Division monitors site conditions on Fayetteville Street.  Downtown Raleigh Alliance Ambassadors monitor all other areas within the Downtown Overlay District.

Activity Specific Standards:

In addition to the general standards noted above, specialized standards apply to the respective activities listed below:

Outdoor Dining - Parklets

Parklet applicants are responsible for maintenance of all Parklet components, including plant materials, surface and furniture cleaning, and keeping the area underneath and adjacent to the Parklet free of obstructions so that stormwater can flow freely at the curb.

Outdoor Dining - Pushcarts - Outdoor Merchandise Sales - Street Furniture & Accessories

The owner of the associated business is required to:

  • Arrange for power washing of the approved dining area at least once every three months
  • Keep the area free of ice or snow. At the onset of snow or ice, tables and chairs must be taken into the restaurant building and stored there until all snow and ice in the outdoor dining area is removed
  • Snow and ice accumulation in building entryways must be pushed to the face of the building for removal by the Parks Department, and
  • Snow and ice accumulation within the outdoor dining area must be pushed to the street gutter for removal by the Parks Department.

The Parks Department assures that sidewalks and Fayetteville Street Garden Zone areas are passable by 8:00 a.m.

A-Frame Signs

The owner of the associated business is required to maintain the sign in an upright position.

Fayetteville Street Maintenance Standards

  • Further specifications are provided in the City of Raleigh manual Fayetteville Street Renaissance Phase I Maintenance Partnership, Programs and Policies.
  • Trees will be pruned for health of tree and for safe passage of vehicles and pedestrians, and not for accommodating signs, awnings, etc. The City Urban Forester must be contacted before any tree pruning is done (contact 919-996-4858).

back to the top

Facade Rehabilitation Grant Program

Overview:

The City of Raleigh offers financial assistance to improve the appearance of buildings. The City's Façade Grant Program helps businesses and property owners in downtown and in older commercial areas upgrade and improve their building's exterior appearance.  Since the program's inception in the early 1980s, it has assisted in the rehabilitation of more than 100 buildings, increasing their attractiveness to new customers and contributing a positive influence toward revitalization of their respective areas.

Goals:

  • To promote façade rehabilitation of commercial and mixed-use buildings in the downtown area, commercial areas adjacent to the downtown, and older pedestrian business districts.
  • To preserve special characteristics of these areas by helping owners make quality building improvements that foster a sense of place and overall consistent image for an area.
  • To compliment other revitalization efforts, such as sidewalk and landscaping improvements.
  • To promote an attractive environment for new investment and business activity.

Facade Rehabilitation Grants:

Grant rebates for a portion of exterior rehabilitation costs are available on a first-come, first-served basis for buildings located in the downtown or in one of the Pedestrian Business Overlay Districts for which streetscape guidelines have developed.  (Routine maintenance, as opposed to highly visible improvements, is not eligible for grant funding.)  Funds are available once per address every ten years.

Eligible Improvements:

  • The removal of false fronts (such as aluminum panels)
  • Repair or replacement of windows, doors, and cornices
  • Repair or replacement of façade materials
  • New, more appropriate signage
  • New awnings
  • Exterior lighting
  • Exterior painting (when part of a larger rehab effort)

Grant Types and Amounts:

1.  Downtown Core Facade Rehabilitation Grants

Grant rebates of up to $10,000 or 50 percent of exterior rehabilitation costs (whichever is less) are available for projects located on the following downtown streets:

  • Fayetteville Street
  • South Salisbury Street
  • South Wilmington Street
  • The east and west 000 blocks of Hargett Street, Martin Street, and Davie Street

In order to qualify for these grants, projects requesting these grants must comply with the design guidelines of the Raleigh Urban Design Handbook.  These are special one-time grants available on a first-come, first-served basis until June 30, 2008.

2.  Downtown and Pedestrian Business Overlay District Facade Grants

Grant rebates of up to $5,000 or 50 percent of exterior rehabilitation costs (whichever is less) are available for buildings in other areas of Downtown or in one of the Pedestrian Business Overlay Districts for which streetscape guidelines have developed (such as Glenwood South).  Review and approval of proposed rehabilitation projects are based upon the design guidelines or streetscape plans for the area in which the project is located.

Design Assistance:

At no cost to program participants, concept drawings, and design suggestions can be prepared by an architectural consultant showing ideas for exterior improvements.  These improvement suggestions are tailored to be relatively quick and inexpensive to implement, yet they can dramatically upgrade the appearance of the building.  This assistance is dependent on the use of a façade grant.

Program Eligibility:

Property owners or business tenants in the Downtown or one of the Pedestrian Business Overlay Districts may apply.  Tenant applications must have the building owner's written approval.  All applications must be submitted for approval prior to the beginning of construction.

All rehabilitation work must comply with all applicable City codes, ordinances, and policies, including but limited to building code requirements, local ordinances (including historic district guidelines, where applicable), and established design standards for the designated area.

Work must fully follow plans and renderings as approved by the City of Raleigh Department of City Planning.  Renovations must be completed within twelve months of the date of project approval and an agreement to maintain the façade for a period of ten years must be signed by the applicant.  Once work is completed and reviewed, the applicant must submit proof of payment for rehabilitation (usually in the form of paid invoices) in order for the City to provide reimbursement.

back to the top

Contact

 

Dhanya Sandeep

Lead Department:
Planning and Zoning
Service Categories:
Zoning