Sidewalk Dining

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Sidewalk Dining Application

COVID Update:

Sidewalk dining is one way restaurants can expand their seating while accommodating social distancing. Below are temporary measures to allow restaurants to expand outdoor seating through at least September, 2020:

  • Sidewalk dining permit application fees are waived
  • Restaurants may use additional sidewalk signs
  • Restaurants with frontage on Franklin St. will have additional space for sidewalk dining once the Town has closed one travel lane in each direction

More information can be found here.

What is sidewalk dining?

Sidewalk dining is when restaurants want to use a public sidewalk or right of way to serve food or beverages anywhere in Chapel Hill. Restaurants that want to use private sidewalks, parking areas, or other privately owned outdoor space are only required to comply with the State Building Code and do not need a Sidewalk Dining Permit.

Why is sidewalk dining important?

Sidewalk dining is a vital part of commercial districts' vibrancy, variety and economic development. It contributes to the excitement felt on public streets and allows restaurants to expand their serving area.

Sidewalk Dining Application

The Sidewalk Dining application is above and an example site plan as required in the application is here. Note that only restaurants that want to use the public right of way (ie Downtown sidewalks) are required to comply with the included requirements and application.

Process Improvements

The Town undertook process improvements for sidewalk dining from 2017 to 2019. More information about that can be found here

From PhotoShelter

Questions or comments about sidewalk dining? Call or email Sarah Poulton at 919-969-5009 or


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