The City of Asheville is working making updates to its outdoor dining program. Goals of the program updates include: 

  • Extending key elements of the temporary “AVL Shares Space” initiatives into long-term programs (i.e. parklets)
  • Improving the application, review and enforcement process – which will benefit staff, applicants and the public
  • Supporting the success and resiliency of Asheville’s local economy with consideration of public health guidance for potential future pandemic(s). 
  • Prioritizing mobility and accessibility for those with physical disabilities through updated policies, standards and management practices
  • Supporting economic development in commercial districts
  • Adjusting fees to 1) more appropriately account for the value of commercializing public space and 2) generate revenue that supports operational management of the program as well as organizational capacity to achieve City priorities and goals 
  • Promoting pedestrian activation that contributes to a welcoming and safe environment by supporting public realm activity within commercial areas


Happening Now

The City has an interdepartmental team working on updates to the City’s Outdoor Dining Program (on public streets and sidewalks) based on lessons learned during the temporary AVL Shares Space initiatives launched during COVID-19 as well as established and emerging best practices. 

Public engagement to get feedback on the proposed policy, standards and fee changes will take place between March 2023 and June 2023. 

Upcoming Engagement

3/29/23 at 4 p.m. – Downtown Public Space Management Task Force – in Person – 6th Floor Training Room of City Hall (more info and link to presentation)

TBD – Asheville Independent Restaurant Association stakeholder group 

5/12/23 at 8:30 a.m. – Downtown Commission – in Person – 1st Floor Conference Room of City Hall (more info)

June/TBD – City Council Planning & Economic Development Committee

July/TBD – City Council Consideration



The COVID-19 pandemic made the City and Community think differently about how public spaces – like streets, sidewalks and parking spaces – can be utilized to support the health, safety and welfare of the public in addition to fostering economic activity.

Through collaboration, communication and flexibility across sectors of government, business and community, the temporary AVL Shares Space initiatives launched in the spring and summer of 2020 enabled the testing of ideas. 

Public feedback on the temporary programs indicated support for continuing many aspects longer term. One of those components is enabling outdoor dining to take place in public on-street parking spaces. Staff is moving forward on the development of a long-term “Streetery” program to accommodate this use. 



Spring 2020: Temporary AVL Shares Space initiatives launched

December 2021: Most temporary initiatives transition to existing long-term programs

January 2022: Outdoor dining permits required for sidewalks through pre-existing process; temporary parklets may remain but no new applications accepted

October 2022: Team launches long-term program development process

February 2023 – April 2023: public engagement and stakeholder feedback on proposed updates to policies, standards and fees

July 2023: City Council consideration/adoption

July 2023 – December 2023: Information sessions, guidance on compliance, etc.  

January 2024: New policies, standards and fees apply to calendar year 2024 permit period 


More Information 

Outdoor Dining Long-Term Program

March 2023 Presentation on Proposed Updates

AVL Shares Space temporary initiatives



Dana Frankel

Downtown Planning Manager 



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