Downtown Chapel Hill
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Info for Businesses

Sidewalk Dining: New Permit Application & Process

Posted: February 15, 2018

As spring comes and people head outside, we want them to spend time dining outdoors at our downtown restaurants! Since the fall, we’ve been working with the Town of Chapel Hill on revising the sidewalk dining permit application and process. Our shared goals are to increase vibrancy and activity downtown and make the process more user-friendly for businesses; all while maintaining safe conditions.  

  • Only restaurants that want to use the public right of way (i.e. Downtown sidewalks) are required to comply with the permitting process. 
  • The Town has a one week turn around to assess applications and get back to you with either approval or additional questions.
  • Notes from a recent meeting with businesses regarding this process.


  • If your business has a current permit – you are good! As a refresher, check out the State statute to make sure you are still meeting the safety regulations.  
  • If you would like to begin sidewalk dining and do not have a permit – APPLY HERE.
    Also, consider applying for our Sidewalk Dining Grant. 
  • As part of this process we have found that there are several businesses that are currently doing sidewalk dining that do not have a permit OR have a permit but conditions do not meet the State regulations. We want you all to be right with the law and for your customers to be safe. The Town and CHDP will be reaching out to these businesses directly to assist with either getting a permit or making those safety changes.

Town and Downtown Partnership staff are available to assist you with answering questions or gathering information for the application. 

Sarah Poulton, Town of Chapel Hill, or 919-969-5009

Meg McGurk, Downtown Partnership, or 919-967-9440

Business InformationCHDP