FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Pop Up Patio/Temporary Outdoor Area Pilot Program

If you do not see your question here, please email us with your question. Staff will respond to all inquiries within 24 hours.

Design

1. What types of traffic control barriers are appropriate for my Pop Up Patio/Temporary Outdoor Area?

For patios located within on-street parking spaces, traffic control barriers should include traffic drums and barrels, at a minimum. For patios located within off-street parking spaces, traffic control barriers may include a series of decorative planters, traffic cones, or traffic drums/barrels. Patios that have alcohol service must also comply with barrier requirements from the Department of Alcoholic Beverages Control (ABC). City staff may suggest more substantial barriers depending on the patio location.

2. Are patios required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Yes, patio areas are required to comply with the ADA, which includes maintaining an accessible path of travel. Where a curb exists between the sidewalk or walkway and the patio area, a temporary wheelchair ramp may be used to achieve compliance with the ADA. The ramp shall maintain a curb ramp slope of 1:12. As an example, if the curb drop is six inches, the ramp shall be a minimum of six feet in length. If a patio area is near an existing accessible ramp in a parking lot or on a sidewalk, the City may allow the ramp to be used to satisfy the path of travel requirements.

3. Can I create a patio that is located partially on the sidewalk and partially within parking spaces?

Yes. Areas that are located on the sidewalk must comply with all requirements applicable to patios on the sidewalk. Areas of the patio that are located within parking spaces must comply with all requirements applicable to patios within parking spaces.

Application

4. Can I create a Pop Up Patio on City property other than the sidewalk and on-street parking spaces, like in a City park?

The City is not processing special events within City parks or other City facilities at this time. Pop Up Patios may be constructed on City-owned public sidewalks and on-street parking spaces, but not on other types of City property.

5. Some of the application sections don’t seem to apply to my Pop Up Patio. Do I still need to complete them?

The City has created a streamlined Special Events Permit application for the Pop Up Patio program. The application will provide you with an option to indicate when a specific section is not required. All questions on this application form must be answered.

6. Can I create a shared patio with adjacent businesses?

Yes, one or more businesses may apply to create a shared patio area. The area of the shared patio is limited to the sum of the area allowed independently to each business. For example, if three businesses want to create a Pop Up patio/Temporary Outdoor Area within parallel parking spaces, then they would be able to convert six parking spaces into a shared patio because each of the three businesses, on its own, would be entitled to convert up to two parallel parking spaces.

Applicants for a shared patio may fill out a single Special Event Program application that lists all businesses authorized to use the patio. Each business must provide its own insurance documentation, except in the case that insurance is provided by the property owner and lists each business as additionally insured parties. Each business must independently sign a copy of the Conditions of Approval for issuance of the Special Event Program. All businesses operating in the shared parklet will be held jointly responsible for violations of the Conditions of Approval.

If a business that serves alcohol is proposing to share a parklet with another business that does not serve alcohol, then the area in which alcohol will be served must be separated from other areas by fencing or a similar continuous barrier. No setback between the two parklet areas is required. If alcohol is served within any area of the patio, businesses should be aware of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) requires that all licensees sharing an area will be jointly responsible for violations that may occur within the shared common area. For more information, please see the ABC’s Fourth Notice of Regulatory Relief.

7. I want to create a dining area on a public sidewalk. Should I apply for a Pop Up Patio/Temporary Outdoor Area Special Events Permit or a Sidewalk Dining Permit?

  • The Planning Division continues to process Sidewalk Dining Permit applications. Businesses eligible to apply for a sidewalk dining permit are welcome to apply for that permit either in-person or through the online pre-submittal process.
  • There are a few important distinctions between the Pop Up Patio/Temporary Outdoor Area Special Events Permit and the Sidewalk Dining Permit:
  • The Pop Up Patio/Temporary Outdoor Area Special Events Permit allows for the creation of sidewalk dining areas on either public or private property. The Sidewalk Dining Permit only allows for the creation of sidewalk dining areas within the public right-of-way.
  • The Pop Up Patio/Temporary Outdoor Area Special Events Permit allows for the creation of sidewalk dining areas anywhere in the City. The Sidewalk Dining Permit only allows for sidewalk dining areas to be created in certain areas within Downtown, City Center, Town Center, and the Warm Springs Innovation district. To see if your business is located in an area that allows permanent sidewalk dining, please email the Planning Division.
  • The Pop Up Patio/Temporary Outdoor Area  Special Events Permit is only valid through October 31, 2020. Sidewalk Dining Permit applications do not have an expiration date and may be used in perpetuity.
  • There is no fee for the temporary Pop Up Patio Special Events Permit. The Sidewalk Dining Permit has a one-time fee of $500.
  • Pop Up Patios/Temporary Outdoor Areas must comply with the Conditions of Approval for the Special Events Permit. Sidewalk dining areas permitted through the Sidewalk Dining Permit process must comply with the performance standards within the zoning ordinance.

If you have questions about the Sidewalk Dining Permit, please email the Planning Division.

8. What will happen to Pop Up patios/temporary outdoor areas once the Special Events Permit terminates on October 31, 2020?

All Pop Up patios/temporary outdoor areas permitted through the Special Events Permit process must be removed by October 31, 2020. City staff intends to propose formal, codified standards in the zoning ordinance that allow restaurants and other businesses to create semi-permanent patio areas after this date. Updates on the permanent program, and the potential to convert temporary Pop Up Patios/temporary outdoor areas into permanent installations, will be posted to the City’s Pop Up Patio/temporary outdoor area webpage.

Existing Outdoor Patios

9. I have an existing outdoor area that was previously permitted by the City. Do I need to apply for a Pop Up Patio permit in order to re-open my existing area?

If you have an existing outdoor dining area that is permitted by the City, you do not need to apply for a Pop Up Patio permit in order to re-open. Although a Pop Up Patio Permit is not required, please note that existing patio areas must also follow all new requirements issued by the Alameda County Department of Public Health and Department of Alcoholic Beverages Control.

10. I have an existing outdoor area that was previously permitted by the City. Do I need to apply for a permit to expand the area of my patio?

Yes. If you are planning to expand an existing patio area beyond its permitted footprint, then you must apply to receive a permit for the expanded area. If you are planning to expand the area on the sidewalk, you can choose to apply for a Sidewalk Dining Permit, which allows the expanded area to permanently operate and requires a $500 fee, or the Pop Up Patio permit, which would allow the expanded area to operate through October 31, 2020 with no fee required. If you are planning to expand the patio into parking spaces, then you must apply for the Pop Up Patio permit.

11. I have an existing outdoor area, but either it wasn’t permitted by the City or I don’t know whether it was permitted by the City. Do I need to apply for a Pop Up Patio permit?

Please email the Pop Up Patio team to check if your existing outdoor dining space is permitted by the City. In the case that the patio never received permits originally, then you do need a Pop Up Patio permit in order to re-open.