parklet with an art mural painted across the back of benches


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COVID-19 Temporary Outdoor Seating Extension Application Traditional Parklet Permit Process

A parklet converts on-street parking spaces into a vibrant, community space that is open to the public at all times.  By creating an extension of the sidewalk over an on-street parking space, parklets can help create a more comfortable and inviting experience for community members to gather.


COVID-19 Temporary Outdoor Seating Extension Application

The City of Raleigh created a temporary outdoor seating program to allow businesses like restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, and bars to operate in outdoor settings adjacent to their businesses. The program aims to allow for greater social distancing and safety for patrons. Under new City guidelines businesses can expand their footprint onto City public right-of-way such as sidewalks, streets, or in privately owned parking lots without having to meet specific City Code and permit requirements, while following safety guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Eligible businesses can now register for an Outdoor Seating Temporary License from the City--at no cost. Considerations for every request will include safety and mobility access.

Outdoor Seating Extension Guide | Application | FAQ  | Insurance Requirements

Who can apply?
Businesses such as restaurants, breweries, wine shops, bottle shops, coffee shops, bars, and other similar places offering food, beverages, or alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption services may be eligible for this program.

When to apply?
Businesses may register for an Outdoor Seating Temporary License now.  

When does the temporary license expire?
An Outdoor Seating Temporary License will be issued to all businesses who register and will last until all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Capacity restrictions were lifted on May 14th.  Since that date, licenses have been extended through October 31, 2021, at no cost to the applicant. 


Traditional Parklet Permit Process

How to Apply

  1. Read about parklet requirements in our hospitality programs planning guide.
  2. First-time applicants should contact the Office of Emergency Management and Special Events Office to learn how to apply.
  3. Complete the Minor Encroachment Application. Submission includes uploading the following requirements to the Permit and Development Portal:

Parklets - Standard Detail Drawings

Design Strategy:

The Parklet process is for applicants that want to obtain a permit for the sole purpose of placing a publicly accessible temporary sidewalk extension in the right of way.

Application Process:

Anyone interested in establishing a Parklet should obtain preliminary confirmation of site location standards by Urban Design Center staff. This is encouraged, but not required. A Parklet Petition with signatures of support from 75% of property owners/leaseholders on the applicable block face is required.

Submittal packages should be submitted to the Permit and Development Portal and must include the following:

  • Parklets Petition, including IMAPs printout showing property owners on block-face
  • Minor Encroachment Application (please note that Parklet Applications are not eligible for 48 hour permitting)
  • Permit Application for Right-of-Way Permit. Permit applications are located at the top of the Forms Directory in the "Most Popular Selections" box.
  • Project description and purpose
  • Photos of existing site
  • Timetable and method of installation
  • Signed and dated Resolution 1996-153
  • Five (5) sets of detailed engineering plans with a completed application stapled to each
  • One (1) complete plan package in .pdf format (do not submit individual pages) (sheet sizes shall be no larger than 24 x 36)
  • Plans should show the location of existing trees, street furniture, hydrants and meters within 20' of Parklet boundaries and should note dimensions of proposed project
  • Indemnity Agreement releasing the City of Raleigh from liability for damages incurred by clients using the public right-of-way
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance (applicant must have $1 million in liability insurance with the City of Raleigh named as the certificate holder)

Allow approximately 4-6 weeks for review and processing. Clients will be contacted by email when their permit is approved. Plan review comments can be viewed using the Permit and Development Center (requires a project Transaction number issued by COR).

Once your permit is approved, contact Transportation Operations-Parking Staff (located on the 3rd floor of the Raleigh Municipal Building) to allocate parking spaces. Please note that the Parklet permit is revocable with a 24 hour notice, and requires annual renewal. Parklet maintenance is the responsibility of the owner/permit holder.

Video Tutorials:

Required Permits:

Zoning Permit
Right-of-Way Permit

Fee Schedule:

  • $150 non-refundable application processing fee due upon submittal
  • $70 administrative fee will be collected upon receipt of encroachment agreement
  • Parking encumbrance fee (to be determined by Transportation Operations)
  • Payments are processed through the Permit and Development Portal. Payment types accepted include cash, Mastercard, Visa, or check made payable to the City of Raleigh.

Permit Provisions:

  • Permits are valid for one year (July 1 through June 30)
  • All permit renewal application must be submitted by June 30 to the Permit and Development Portal
  • Any time the scope of use, ownership, or location changes, a new permit application must be submitted
  • At the time of permit application submittal, applicants are encouraged to provide an email address for the contact person (all contacts will be added to a listserv created for permit-holders). The Permit and Development Portal maintains records of all permits including contact information
  • The Permit and Development Portal 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 spaces
  • 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. 
  • Special event permits supersede annual permits. During a special event approved by the City, annual permits are temporarily suspended. The annual permit holder is required to attain granted written permission from the event sponsor/coordinator to set up on sidewalks within designated event area. The permit holder is responsible for keeping track of upcoming special events and the designated boundaries that may affect their business. For more information about special events, please contact the Office of Emergency Management and Special Events at 919-996-2200.


  • 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 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 carry a $200 fine for each occurrence and permits are revoked if a third violation occurs within the fiscal year


For Parklets to be permitted within the downtown rights-of-way, all standards listed below must be met.


  • Parklets are only allowed in the Downtown Overlay District and adjacent Pedestrian Business Overlay Districts
  • Speed limit of 35 mph or less
  • Must have existing pedestrian activity due to the presence of retail, mixed use, commercial development, or high-density residential development
  • Set back from driveways and 20’from intersections
  • Parklets are prohibited in the following locations:         
      - on Fayetteville Street, and within the Fayetteville Parking Zone         
      - in front of driveways         
      - at street corners         
      - along steep slopes (5%)         
      - above manholes or other utility access         
      - in front of fire hydrants (within 5’)         
      - where there are programmed street improvements or resurfacing scheduled to occur in the near future    - in bus lanes or loading zones (unless accompanied by a previous removal request)         
      - too close to other Parklets         
      - in disabled parking spaces         
      - on NCDOT roads         
      - on bridges

Design Standards:

  • No wider than parking stall width
  • Maximum length of 2 parking spaces
  • Load bearing to a max of 750 lb per square foot
  • Must use non-combustible materials in primary and secondary fire districts
  • Create buffers between adjacent parking and the street
  • Wheel stops between adjacent parallel parking space and Parklet
  • Reflective elements at Parklet corners
  • ADA accessible
  • Must not impede curbside drainage
  • Designed for easy removal (24 hour notice)
  • No advertisements
  • Donor and material sponsor signage permitted with restrictions (no logos, maximum size of 1’ by 1’ and placed on Parklet adjacent to curb)
  • Must be open to the public with supporting signage

Design Guidelines:

  • Visually distinguishable from any adjacent cafes
  • Visually permeable and connected to the street
  • Includes fixed and moveable seating
  • Includes plantings with year-round interest
  • Bicycle parking is encouraged
  • Suggested use of local, sustainable materials


  • The permit holder is responsible for the maintenance, upkeep and security of the Parklet, plantings, furnishings and related accessories
  • Repairs or replacement must be completed within 10 days of discovery


Lead Department:
Emergency Management and Special Events
Service Categories:
Hospitality Programs



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