The City Council approved a permanent parklet program at their October 16, 2021 meeting which allows for both public and commercial parklets.
- Businesses currently participating in the City’s COVID-19 outdoor dining and retail program and using on-street parking spaces are approved through September 30, 2022. Any business wishing to continue with outdoor in-street dining and retail must apply for a permit and meet the City’s parklet requirements prior to expiration of the temporary program. See the "How to Apply" section below for more details.
Parklet Permit Fees were approved by the City Council on March 8, 2022 and will be effective starting October 1, 2022. Permit fees for the first year will be 50% of the approved fee. The final resolution on parklet permit fees can be found here .
What Is a Parklet?
Parklets are an extension of the sidewalk into the parking lane to be used for extra space associated with a business, such as a restaurant or a retail establishment, or simply as open space and public seating. Parklets can be public (open to the public at all times) or commercial (used for a private business). Typical parklets use one or two parking spaces, but they may occupy more than that.
What are the City’s Parklet Requirements?
Parklets are authorized as permitted encroachments into public space. Per the City Code Section 5-2-29(j), parklets must comply with the City’s Parklet Requirements , approved by the Traffic and Parking Board in November 2021. This document includes details about:
- Location requirements
- Design requirements
- Maintenance requirements
- Insurance requirements
- Required outreach and approvals process
The Parklet Requirements also apply to short-term parklets (parklets in place for less than 7 days). Short-term parklets will accommodate short events such as sidewalk sales without requiring a full build-out of a parklet. Specific design requirements may not apply for short-term parklets and are noted in the Design Requirements.
In addition to the Parklet Requirements, all furniture must comply with the King Street Outdoor Dining Design Guidelines.
How to Apply for a Parklet
You can be approved for a parklet by applying for an annual Right-of-Way (ROW) - Parklet Permit through the City’s APEX Permit Portal (please note this permit is still under development and will be available soon). This annual permit will include a fee specific to the parklet's length and the location of the parklet within the City, as well as additional processing fees. Applications will be evaluated based on the date received, application completeness, adherence to the parklet requirements, and quality of design. All parklet locations and designs must comply with the Parklet Requirements .
To apply, you must complete the following steps (further details are included in the full Parklet Requirements document):
Step 1: Pre-Submittal Meeting
- Contact T&ES - Mobility Services staff to discuss proposed location and design concept (firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.746.4245)
Step 2: Outreach
- Garner the required approvals from the property owner (if not the applicant) and/or adjacent businesses (if parklet is proposed in front of another business)
- Provide notification to all businesses, neighborhood organizations, and residents on the block where they are applying to host a parklet.
- The City will post a sign for 14 days at the proposed parklet location indicating a parklet is under consideration and inviting public comment
Step 3: Submit Permit Application(s) Documents into APEX
- Site Plan showing the location of the parklet.
Design Plan showing the design of the parklet and how it will be constructed (including Maintenance of Traffic [MOT] plans)
Proof of Outreach and Notice as required in Step 2
Certificate of Insurance
Commercial Use Details – Supplemental Application (only applicable for businesses using the parklet for sales)
Step 4: Approval and Installation
- After all reviewers have approved, fees have been paid, and the maintenance agreement is signed by all parties, T&ES Permit Office issues the permit
- The applicant installs the parklet and calls for an inspection (parklet to be inspected by T&ES, P&Z, and Fire Department)
Step 5: Annual Renewal
- The City will send a reminder about permit renewals 30 days prior to the permit expiring. The reminder will note that, if the permit is not renewed, the parklet must be removed by the date the permit expires.
- Permits will be approved for one year and can be renewed annually. If there are no changes to the design and location, the permit will be renewed upon payment of fees and submission of updated documents (insurance, maintenance agreement, etc.)
History of the Parklet Program
In the fall of 2019, staff began to evaluate the feasibility of a potential parklet program for the City. The Parks and Recreation Commission and Traffic and Parking Board endorsed a two-year pilot program in February 2020.
Parklets as part of this initial pilot program were only for public use—commercial use (sales, etc.) in parklets was prohibited until indoor restrictions related to COVID-19 precipitated the need for businesses to have outdoor seating. The state of emergency in the City allowed businesses to use all kinds of materials and set up on-street seating and vending spaces with relative ease and freedom as well as at no cost.
In October 2021, the City Council approved a permanent parklet program, which allows for both public and commercial parklets.
For more information or comments regarding the Parklet Program, contact Max Devilliers at email@example.com.