The City of Asheville is making updates to its outdoor dining program as applied to use of public space (streets and sidewalks). Goals of the program updates include:
Support a welcoming, safe and active environment
Improve the application, review and enforcement process (which will benefit staff, applicants and the public)
Prioritize mobility and access for all including those with physical disabilities
Transition elements of the temporary “AVL Shares Space” initiatives launched during COVID into long-term programs (i.e. parklets)
Support the success and resilience of Asheville’s local economy
More appropriately account for the value of commercializing public space through an updated fee structure
Promote multiple public benefits whenever possible
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 August 2023.
Proposed changes include:
- An updated outdoor dining ordinance that includes “streeteries” (use of public on-street parking spaces on city-managed streets)
- New fee structure that supports:
- Better alignment with the market value of commercial space
- Maximizing multiple public benefits when possible (i.e. charging per square foot and encouraging the space to be public after-hours)
- Improved operational management of the program
- An outdoor dining guide that features standards and best practices along with clear guidance on the application and review process
- 3/29/23 – Downtown Public Space Management Task Force – in Person – 6th Floor Training Room of City Hall (more info and link to presentation)
- 4/11/23 – Presentation and discussion with economic development organization workgroup organized by Buncombe County (link to presentation)
- 4/18/23 – Asheville Independent Restaurant Association focus group (link to presentation)
- 4/28/23 – Go Local business focus group (link to presentation)
- 6/7/23 – Existing outdoor dining permit holders (link to presentation)
- 8/23/23 – Multimodal Transportation Commission (link to presentation and link to recording)
- Recommended approval
- 8/25/23 – Downtown Commission (link to presentation)
- Recommended approval
- 9/11/23 – City Council Planning & Economic Development Committee (more info)
- Recommended approval
- 10/10/23 – City Council Policy, Finance & HR Committee (more info)
- 10/24/23 – City Council Consideration
Please contact us to schedule a one-on-one meeting or focus group session.
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.
Program Update Timeline
- Spring 2020: Temporary AVL Shares Space initiatives launched
- December 2021: Most temporary initiatives transition to existing long-term programs; temporary parklets may remain.
- 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, including a long-term “streetery” program
- February – August 2023: public engagement and stakeholder feedback on proposed updates to policies and standards
- September 11, 2023: City Council Planning & Economic Development Committee review
- October 10, 2023: City Council Policy, Finance and HR Committee Review
- October 24, 2023: City Council consideration/adoption
- November 1, 2023 – Application period opens for 2024 permitting
- November – January 2023: Information sessions, guidance on compliance, etc.
- January 2024: New policies, standards and fees apply to calendar year 2024 annual permit period
More Information and Background
- AVL Shares Space – status of initiatives
- Temporary Parklet Program Guidelines (applies to all remaining parklets)
- Guidance for operating outdoors (with tents, heaters, etc.)
AVL Shares Space Temporary Initiatives
- June 13, 2022: Presentation and Report to City Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee
- November 9, 2021: Presentation on AVL Shares Space to City Council
- September 2021: public survey results
- September 3, 2021: Share your Feedback on ‘AVL Shares Space’ outdoor expansion initiatives – Press Release
- June 22, 2021: AVL Shares Space outdoor expansion to continue through 2021 – Press Release
- December 16, 2020: AVL Shares Space outdoor expansion to continue in 2021
- December 3, 2020: Reminders for safety requirements to operate outdoors – Press Release
- September 28, 2020: AVL Shares Space extended to January 3 with winter guidelines – Press Release
- June 23, 2020: City of Asheville launches shares streets and parklet programs – Press Release
- June 5, 2020: City of Asheville expands flexibility for business use of sidewalks in addition to private lots – Press Release
- May 22, 2020: City of Asheville launches curbside pick-up program and expands flexibility for business use of private lots – Press Release
Downtown Planning Manager