The City of Asheville is pleased to announce significant updates to its outdoor dining program as permitted in public spaces (streets and sidewalks) after City Council approval at their regularly scheduled meeting on October 24, 2023.
Updates to the program include:
- A new outdoor dining ordinance that includes “streeteries” (utilizing public on-street parking spaces) for annual permitting in addition to sidewalks.
- A new fee structure that supports program goals by encouraging efficiency, incentivizing spaces to be utilized outside of business hours, and capturing the value of commercialized public space for maximum public benefit.
- Improved administration and management of the program.
- An outdoor dining guide that illustrates standards, highlights best practices, and provides clear guidance on the application and review process.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a shift in perspective for the City and community on the use of public spaces, and led to the experimentation of new ways to support public health, safety, and economic vitality. The temporary AVL Shares Space initiatives, launched in 2020, played a pivotal role in testing and shaping these new ideas, including the temporary use of on-street parking spaces. Positive feedback from businesses and the public led to the incorporation of a long-term “Streetery” program in the City’s updated outdoor dining program. Additional updates were made to better ensure and prioritize accessibility, provide clearer guidance to businesses, encourage maximum public benefits (based on extensive engagement about the trade-offs of various uses of public space) and improve management of the program overall.
The updated program launches in January 2024 with the application process opening for businesses on November 13 on the City’s development portal. Information sessions will be offered to businesses to provide further guidance on the new application process and standards.