Permits to Expand Outdoor Dining

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The 30-day window for temporary or revocable permits for outdoor dining issued in response to COVID-related indoor capacity limits will expire June 5, 2021. Permit holders can request extension of the permits beyond this deadline, however, permit fees will be required (typically $100 to $225 depending on location and size of seating areas) and parking requirements must be met.  In light of the state ending COVID-19 restrictions and returning control to local jurisdiction, we are currently reviewing any updates to requirements and regulations and will provide more information on this webpage when available. The Colorado Springs Planning and Community Development Department is accepting temporary use and revocable permit applications to allow restaurants and bars to expand dining and consumption areas to private parking lots, sidewalks, café patio extensions, or balcony seating.”

Permits to Expand Outdoor Dining Space

The Colorado Springs Planning and Community Development Department is accepting applications for temporary use and revocable permits to expand dining areas to private parking lots, sidewalks, café patio extensions, or balcony seating. Restaurants and bars may be eligible for adding temporary outdoor dining and consumption areas either on private parking areas, or on public sidewalks or parking areas. 

Expand outdoor dining on PRIVATE off-street parking lots - Temporary Use Permit

Repurposing private parking lots, landscaped areas, or other areas not previously used for seating may be allowed.

Apply for a Temporary Use Permit

Expand outdoor dining on PUBLIC sidewalks or parking spaces - Revocable Permit

  • Public sidewalk adjacent to the business - Adequate public pedestrian clearances must be retained
  • Public sidewalk adjacent to neighboring businesses - Must have documented consent from the neighboring property owner
  • Public on-street parking spaces – This option is to be considered when no other options are available and when parking supply and demand can be met elsewhere. Details on the number of spaces utilized and the method to protect customers from moving vehicles in the adjacent travel lane must be considered

Appply for a Revocable Permit

    Application Requirements & Emergency Changes for 2020

      In recognition of indoor capacity limits, the City is adopting the following temporary changes to standards, policies and procedures to maximize outdoor dining and bar consumption areas:

      • Waived Fees: Submittal fees for revocable permits or temporary use permits to add outdoor dining areas or outdoor bar consumption areas are temporarily waived. Should the applicant wish to convert the temporary use of these areas to permanent areas, fees would be due at that time.
      • Expedited Review Time: The review of revocable permits and temporary use permits will be expedited to every possible extent, providing “over the counter” review when possible.  Applications that require the review of multiple City Agencies will be reviewed within 2 to 3 business days.
      • Parking Requirements: The City will not apply the standard 1 parking stall per 200 square feet of outdoor dining area requirement to temporary outdoor dining areas.  Temporary loss of required parking stalls to be utilized for outdoor dining areas is also permitted.  The facility must still provide required ADA parking stalls per Code.
      • Expiration: approved temporary outdoor dining and consumption areas will expire on October 1, 2021. 

      Application Requirements

      City Staff will allow limited, basic information on the plans for temporary outdoor dining areas.  Site plans should include the following:

      • Aerial photo showing the subject property, building location, on-site parking, and existing and proposed outdoor seating areas.
      • Dimensions of new outdoor seating areas, including approximate square footage.  While the plans don’t need to illustrate precise table counts and locations, please remember that furnishing outdoor seating areas must meet social distancing standards from County and State health agencies.
      • Revocable permit plans must document the minimum width of the adjacent public sidewalk to ensure ADA compliance.

      Other Considerations

      Temporary approval is set to expire on October 1, 2021, with the following considerations:

      • Use of public parking stalls is subject to additional limitations which may potentially include only specific days of the week or times of day (e.g. Friday / Saturday evenings), and may be permitted for shorter periods of time (e.g. 30 or 60 day trial periods).
      • All options are subject to local and State health restrictions.  New regulations affecting outdoor dining will supersede any approvals granted by the Planning Department.
      • All outdoor dining areas must utilize a physical barrier (e.g. bollard and chain, railing, etc.) to demarcate dining areas from pedestrian and/or vehicular areas.
      • The applicant must work with the City Clerk’s Office and County Health Department to modify liquor license premise plans and food services licenses.
      • All permits granted under this program are revocable. Should the permit holder violate the City’s noise ordinance or provide insufficient parking for restaurant staff and patrons, and if the permit holder cannot mitigate concerns, the permit may be revoked.
      • Should you wish to gain permanent use of your temporary outdoor seating area, please initiate a pre-application meeting with a Planner. It is likely that a formal application and review process will be required for permanent changes to your site.

      Temporary Structures and Outdoor Heating for Cold Weather

      Temporary Structures on Approved Outdoor Dining Space

      Consideration for the assembly, construction, and ventilation of temporary structures is imperative when providing diners with temporary dining options. Therefore, dining and consumption businesses must determine their temporary structure classification of either Indoor or Outdoor.

      Classifications for temporary structures are available on the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment Temporary Outdoor Structures for Restaurants and Events webpage and honored by EPCPH.

      Temporary structures assembled for occupancy on a CSPCD approved expanded outdoor dining space requires a CSFD Prescribed (Revocable) Permit for Temporary Membrane Structures and Tents. On the City’s webpage, additional information on Tents, Canopies, and Membrane Structures can be found.

      NOTICE: Permits for temporary structures less than 2,400 square feet in size are free of charge.

      General Requirements of Temporary Structures

      • Structures capable of occupancy by more than one party must have a minimum of two (2) non-adjacent sides open enough to provide airflow through the structure. (Per EPCPH - Temporary Outdoor Structures for Restaurants and Events.)
      • Structures, such as plastic domes, may be used for individual parties and must have adequate ventilation to allow for air circulation. (Per EPCPH)
      • Structures must be weighted, anchored, or secured to the ground. (Per CSFD)
      • Screwing, cutting, or drilling into a public right-of-way (street, sidewalk, etc.) is prohibited. (Per CSPCD)
      • Temporary structures must have a fire-resistant certification or flame certification showing material is noncombustible; additional documentation specific to materials may also be required. (Per CSFD)
      • Restauranteurs are responsible for determining when it is unsafe to occupy a temporary structure, for example, during high wind or heavy snowpack weather events. (General liability concern)
      • Signage indicating entrances and exits must be visible at all times. (Per CSFD)
      • Fire extinguishers must be accessible at all times. (Per CSFD)
      • Cooking and food preparation is NOT ALLOWED within temporary structures. (Per EPCPH)

      Heating Temporary Structures

      Devices using natural gas or liquid propane for heating temporary structures (per CSFD)

      • ONLY ALLOWED WHEN APPROVED by the fire code official.
      • External forced-air propane heaters explicitly designed to provide heat to temporary structures MAY BE ALLOWED when approved by the fire code official.
      • Once approved by the fire code official, devices using natural gas or liquid propane:
        • Must be operated and placed in accordance with the manufacturer's listing, operating, and safety manuals/ instructions.
        • Must be operated by employees trained in proper propane fuel tank/bottle/cylinder installation and propane leak detection.
        • MUST have propane tank/bottle/cylinder (cylinder) valves turned to the OFF position when not in use.
        • MUST NOT have their propane cylinders stored in buildings intended for occupancy, including but not limited to basements, interior closets, and storage rooms.
        • MAY store no more than fifteen (15), twenty-pound (20-lb) cylinders within a secured and tamper-proof area, such as a propane cage, detached shed, or other locations approved by the fire code ofcial. Additional storage may require a permit.

      Devices using electricity for heating temporary structures (per CSFD)

      • Must be operated in accordance with the manufacturer's listing, operating, and safety manuals/instructions.
      • Must be positioned to prevent physical damage and not be a trip hazard.
      • Must be unplugged when not in use (specific to portable electric heating devices only).
      • Must use extension cords sized to accommodate the electrical demand.
      • New outlets or hard-wired connections may require a permit through Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.

      Heating Spaces Outside

      Devices using natural gas or liquid propane for heating temporary structures (per CSFD)

      • As approved by the fire code ofcial (including portable outdoor fire pits).
      • Must be operated in accordance with the manufacturer's listing, operating, and safety manuals/instructions.
      • Must be operated by employees trained in proper propane fuel tank/bottle/cylinder installation and propane leak detection.
      • Heaters Must be placed at least five feet (5') from combustible materials (buildings, furniture, etc.), or more, when indicated in the manufacturer's instructions.
      • MUST have propane tank/bottle/cylinder (cylinder) valves turned to the OFF position when not in use.
      • MUST NOT have their propane cylinders stored in buildings intended for occupancy, including but not limited to basements, interior closets, and storage rooms.
      • MAY store no more than fifteen (15), twenty-pound (20-lb) cylinders within a secured and tamper-proof area, such as a propane cage, detached shed, or other locations approved by the fire code ofcial. Additional storage may require a permit.

      Devices using electricity for heating temporary structures (per CSFD)

      • Must be operated in accordance with the manufacturer's listing, operating, and safety manuals/instructions.
      • Must be positioned to prevent physical damage and not be a trip hazard.
      • Must be unplugged when not in use (specific to portable electric heating devices only.
      • Must use extension cords sized to accommodate the electrical demand.
      • New outlets or hard-wired connections may require a permit through Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.


      View this information in a printable format: Guidance for Temporary Structures and Heaters 

      Liquor License Modification

      The City Clerk’s office, in compliance with the Colorado State Liquor License Enforcement Division recent rule change, is implementing a local process for the restaurant to modify their liquor licensed premises to temporarily serve alcohol in an expanded dining service area.

      BEFORE alcohol can be served from the expanded areas, an update to the business’s liquor license premise plan must be completed. 

      Restaurants are encouraged to contact El Paso County Public Health to determine any additional requirements for outdoor seating.  Contact healthinfo@elpasoco.com or (719) 578-3199 for more information.

      Contacts

      Fire Information
      Colorado Springs Fire Department Division of the Fire Marshal, 375 Printers Parkway, 719-385-5978

      Zoning / City Planning Information
      Urban Planning Manager, Ryan Tefertiller, ryan.tefertiller@coloradosprings.gov, 719-385-5382

      El Paso County PUblic Health Information
      Retail Food Establishments page on the elpasocountyhealth.org website for a fillable application, and email it to COVIDBusinessRecovery@elpasoco.com or call 719-578-3199 opt 3

      Liquor License Information
      City Clerk's Office, 719-385-5901, Contact the City Clerk's Office