Banners

  • banners on street
 

A banner permit grants permission to temporarily occupy any City-owned utility poles (primarily poles with streetlights but no utility wires) for the purpose of providing notice to residents and visitors of San Francisco about City-sponsored, City-funded, City-wide special events and locations of the City's diverse neighborhoods.  Article 5.7 Section 184.78 (PWC) 

New Banner Bracket Requirements (see Letter)

 

Application and Approval Process

  1.  Requests to install vertical banners on City-owned utility poles shall include the following:
    • Banner Permit Application stating the name of the applicant, the name and address of the organization requesting the permit, streets and number of poles to be used, the name and date(s) of the event, date(s) of banner installation and removal, size, design (or logo) and description of hardware and material of banner, and method of attachment to the pole(s). See Public Works Order 175,208.
    • A fully dimensioned plan indicating street name(s), location of poles, size, detail and design/logo of banner, and method of attachment to the pole(s).
    • Certificate of Insurance naming the City and County of San Francisco as additional insured, with general liability coverage of not less than $2 million.
    • A processing fee, payable to San Francisco Public Works. Fee Schedule
  2. If the application meets all design guidelines, we will issue a permit.
  3. If the application does not meet guidelines.
    • Applicant may revise application and plan in order to meet guidelines.
    • Applicant may request an exception to said guidelines:
      • An additional processing fee shall be submitted

      • Application will require further review by Public Works, Bureau of Light, Heat & Power (BLHP) and/or MUNI

      • Requests for exception to guidelines must be submitted at least six (6) weeks from intended date of installation.

If Public Works, BLHP and/or MUNI approve exception, refer to Paragraph "B" above.  If exception to guidelines is not granted, application will be denied.

 

Guidelines for Approval

  1. Any non-profit, cultural, promotional or civic organization located in San Francisco may submit a request to install vertical banners.   
      

  2. Request for banners may be made either for all poles within a specific district or for selected poles within a district.  The applicant shall be responsible for determining whether a pole is under the jurisdiction of Bureau of Light, Heat and Power, MUNI and/or PG&E.    

  3. Banners may advertise an event, and shall not advertise any business or product.    

  4. Standard banner dimensions shall not exceed 36 inches in width by 72 inches in length. See Figure One below.

  5. Effective Monday, January 25, 2016, banners exceeding 18 inches in width and 36 inch in height or the cumulative surface area of all signs and banners on a pole exceed 15 square feet shall utilize appropriate collapsible and flexible brackets in order to be collapsible and flexible. 

  6. The top bracket of the banner shall be a minimum of 2 feet below a riser or guy wire; such as, on MUNI poles See Figure Two below.

  7. The bottom bracket of the banner shall be at a minimum height of 14 feet from the street level and 12 feet from the sidewalk level. See Figure Three below.

  8. Should an organization identify sponsor(s) on the banners, all logos should be no more than 15 percent of the overall size of the banner.  Sponsors will be restricted to their logo or company name only in the bottom 15 percent of the banner and shall not include any advertisement or slogan.  See Figure One below.

  9. Only stainless steel bands shall be placed with protective material (neoprene) to protect the surfaces of the poles. 

  10. The banner shall not obstruct in any way the public's view of traffic signals, street signs, or any other City approved sign.

  11. The banner shall not be hung in any manner from the arm of the pole.    

  12. Banners shall not be installed on lamp posts on Market Street's "Path of Gold" located at 1 thru 2470 Market Street; Market Street between Steuart and Castro Streets. Article 5.7, Section 184.78(f) PWC.

  13. Upon conclusion of the event or promotion, the banner(s) and all attachments must be removed within five (5) business days.

 

BANNER MANUFACTURER COMPANIES

This list is provided for the convenience of the recipient only; no recommendation is inferred or implied. The following is a sample listing of a few manufacturers that have compliant collapsible banner brackets. Referral to this list does not constitute an endorsement by the City or its personnel, and the user is encouraged to find other vendors, whether listed here or elsewhere, that meet City standards.

 

All applicants who can comply with all the above guidelines are encouraged to submit an application for permit to:

San Francisco Public Works • Bureau of Street-Use & Mapping 
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor • San Francisco, CA 94103 • Map
Telephone : (415) 554-5810   Fax: (415) 554-6161
Office Hours : 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Monday through Friday, except official holidays

Note: all cash and check transactions must be submitted before 4:00 p.m.

 

Parklets

  • parklet

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - PDF

San Francisco’s streets and public right-of-way make up 25% of the City’s land area, more space than all the park area combined. Many of our streets are excessively wide and contain large zones of underutilized space. In an effort to reclaim this space, San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program was created. This program, a collaborative effort between the Planning Department, Public Works, Municipal Transportation Agency and Mayor’s Office, seeks to temporarily regain these unused swathes of land by quickly and inexpensively turn them into parklets. 

Installing a parklet is one way to activate the space in public right-of-way as part of the Better Streets Plan. Parklets provide an economical solution to the desire and need for wider sidewalks and are intended to provide space for the general public to sit and enjoy the space despite narrow sidewalks.

Parklets are intended as sidewalk/street furniture, providing aesthetic elements to the overall streetscape. Public Works Code Article 16, Section 810B governs the installation of sidewalk landscaping. Public Works Order 183,392 (pdf) provides detailed implementation guidelines for approval and installation consistent with the sidewalk landscaping program and accessibility

 

Guidelines

Parklet permits will first be evaluated by City Planning, SFMTA and Public Works for compliance and the posting of a Public Notice of Intent. If no objections are received to the Notice, the application is then routed to Public Works for final review and approval.  An overview of the goals, policies, process and procedures is available in the San Francisco Parklets Manual.

Who is eligible to apply?

  1. Community Benefit Districts (CBDs)  

  2. Ground floor business owners  

  3. Non-profit and community organizations 

  4. Fronting property owners  

  5. Other applicants may be considered on a case by case basis.

 

Submittal Requirements

  1. Parklet permit application form

  2. A fee payable by cash, check or VISA/MC only to Public Works. (See fee schedule)   

  3. A letter requesting the parklet  

  4. Parklet Plans: Three sets of plans to scale (see checklist below). Parklet on a street grade greater than 5.0% and in a zone greater than 25-mph shall be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Parklets may not be installed in front of a fire hydrant, over a manhole or public utility valve/cover and may not be bolted to the roadway. All parklet designs shall comply with Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines . 

  5. Letters of support from adjacent properties/business owners 

  6. Provide a 24/7 contact if there is an emergency and the parklet needs to be removed within two hours for access. 

  7. Fill out a street improvement permit application for the installation and inspection. The Parklet permit is grants permission for the use of the right-of-way. 

  8. Elements being proposed to be placed on the parklet; (e.g. tables & chairs, benches, planters/landscaping, bicycle parking, etc.) 

  9. A description of how the proposed parklet meets each of the criteria set forth in Section V 

 

Sample Parklets

 
Approved Parklets (map)
  • Amandeep Jawa - 937 VALENCIA ST 

  • Arizmendi Bakery - 1331 09TH AVE 

  • Arlequin Cafe - 384 HAYES ST 

  • Blue Fig Cafe - 988 VALENCIA ST 

  • Brainwash, Inc. - 1122 FOLSOM ST 

  • Butter - 354 11TH ST 

  • Cafe Abir - 1300 FULTON ST 

  • Cafe Seventy8 - 78 29TH ST 

  • Caffe Greco - 423 COLUMBUS AVE 

  • Caffe Roma Coffee Roasting Company - 526 COLUMBUS AVE 

  • Dante's Table - 544 CASTRO ST 

  • Darwin Cafe - 212 RITCH ST 

  • Devil's Teeth Baking Company - 3876 NORIEGA ST 

  • DNA Pizza - 371 11TH ST 

  • Durso's - 236 TOWNSEND ST 

  • EHS Pilates - 1452 VALENCIA ST 

  • Excelsior Action Group - 4754 MISSION ST 

  • Fabric 8 - 3318 22ND ST 

  • Farley's - 1315 18TH ST 

  • Farm Table LLC - 754 POST ST 

  • Four Barrell Coffee LLC - 375 VALENCIA ST 

  • Freewheel Bike Shop - 914 VALENCIA ST 

  • Haight Street Market - 1530 HAIGHT ST 

  • Hotel Whitcomb - 1231 MARKET ST 

  • Jebena - 994 POLK ST 

  • Just for Fun - 3982 24TH ST 

  • Just for You Cafe, Inc. - 732 22ND ST 

  • Magnolia Pub & Brewery - 1392 HAIGHT ST 

  • Martha Brothers - 3868 24TH ST 

  • Mercury Cafe - 201 OCTAVIA ST 

  • Mojo Bicycle Cafe - 639 DIVISADERO ST 

  • Morrocan Resturant - 533 JONES ST 

  • Nile Cafe - 544 JONES ST 

  • Outerlands Cafe - 4001 JUDAH ST 

  • Pizzeria Due, LLC dba: Delfina - 2410 CALIFORNIA ST 

  • Quetzal Cafe - 1234 POLK ST 

  • Ralpha Cycle Club - 2198 FILBERT ST 

  • Sandbox Bakery - 903 CORTLAND AVE 

  • Simple Pleasures Cafe - 3434 BALBOA ST 

  • Squat & Gooble - 2263 Chestnut St 3600 16TH ST 

  • Squat & Gobble Cafe #1 & #2 - 3600 16TH ST 

  • The Crepe House - 1755 POLK ST 

  • The Crepe House 3 - 1132 VALENCIA ST 

  • The Dancing Pig - 544 CASTRO ST 

  • Tonys Pizza Napoletana - 1570 STOCKTON ST 

  • Trouble Coffee - 4033 JUDAH ST 

  • Trouble Coffee - 1730 YOSEMITE ST 

 

 

For More Information

For more information or clarification on any of the permit requirements, please contact us at:

San Francisco Public Works • Bureau of Street-Use & Mapping 
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor • San Francisco, CA 94103 • Map
Telephone : (415) 554-5810   Fax: (415) 554-6161
Office Hours : 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Monday through Friday, except official holidays

Note: all cash and check transactions must be submitted before 4:00 p.m.

parklets@sfdpw.org

 

 

Mobile Food Facilities

  • food truck

 

A Mobile Food Facility is any vehicle or pushcart used in conjunction with a commissary or other permanent food facility upon which food is sold or distributed at retail in a static location. Department of Public Health and San Francisco Fire Department continues to enforce public safety regulations, while location permitting was transferred from the Police Department to Public Works.

Like many major cities across the country, mobile food facilities have become an increasingly significant feature of the streetscape in San Francisco. In order to address this growing trend, the Board of Supervisors adopted ordinance 119-13 (Public Works Code, Article 5.8), regulating Mobile Food Facilities in December of 2010, followed by Public Works guidelines (Public Works Order No. 179,044), approved February 25, 2011.

On July 28, 2013, the Board of Supervisors amended Public Works Code, Article 5.8 to address various location and noticing requirements concerning mobile food facilities accompanied by Public Works guidelines (Order 182,101). The new legislation streamlines the rules and regulations for mobile food vending, making it assessable and affordable to be a legal street-food vendor in San Francisco.

If you have any questions, please email us at mobilefood@sfdpw.org.

Call 311 to report a problem or complete a Request for Service online.

 

Interactive Flowchart

 

Research/Visit Small Business Assistance Center

 

Choosing of Location

  • When choosing a location, please be aware that the majority of trucks provide service on the passenger side of the vehicle.

  • Truck/ trailers shall:

    • Be located on the street in a legal parking space

    • Not be parked against the flow of traffic

    • Occupy parallel parking stalls

  • Pushcart: The minimum recommended width of a sidewalk shall be 15 feet.

  • All Mobile Food Facilities must maintain minimum clearances of:

    • 75’ from existing restaurant primary entrance

    • 8’ from Street Artist 

    • 5’ from Curb Return

    • 6’ Path of Travel 

    • 6’ from Street Furniture 

    • 7’ from Fire Hydrant 

    • 8’ from Bus Zones

    • 12’ from Blue Zone

Please note that Department of Public Health requires Restroom Verification (a property owner/business within 200’ of the mobile food facility must consent in writing to use of restroom facilities for your employees)

 

Verify requirements with

 

Sample Drawing

  • Provide a diagram of the proposed location showing everything located on the sidewalk/street showing the location of the mobile food facility with distance dimensions. See Sample Drawing. Drawing is not required to be drafted by a computer or to scale, but must be with a ruler and legible.

  • Represent dimensions between Mobile Food Facility and obstructions including, but not limited to, trees, newspaper racks, bike racks signs, parking meters, hydrants, payphones, lights, SFFD Alarms, etc.

  • Dimension the length and width of the Mobile Food Facility. 

  • Provide width of the sidewalk. 

  • Provide property line, street names, North arrow.

 

Application Submittal

Submit: 

  • Completed Public Works Mobile Food Facility application

  • Two (2) photographs of the permit applicant(s) for ID cards (i.e. passport size)

  • Site plan

  • A sample menu or itemized list

  • Fees: Half of processing, notification, and inspection.

    • Refund Policy: No refunds will be issued verbatim per city code Article 5.8 Section 184.83

 

Public Notification (Notice of Intent)

The mandatory public notification comprises of a mailing and posting. The duration of the notification period continues for 30 days (10-day physical posting at proposed location within the notification period) and allows the public to submit comments.

After review of the application package and after the requirements of  Public Works Code Article 5.8 and Public Works Order 182,101 are met, an applicant can then proceed to obtain and submit a notification package from a notification service. The package shall contain:

Public Works will provide the notices and the envelopes.

Comments for Mobile Food Facility permit applications must be submitted in writing within 30 days of the Notice of Intent via:

  • Online Public Comment Form. Enter the permit application # on notice.
  • E-mail mobilefood@sfdpw.org. Please reference the permit application # in the subject line.
  • Fax to (415) 554-6161
  • Mail San Francisco Public Works
    • Bureau of Street-Use and Mapping
    • 1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor
    • San Francisco, CA 94103

Please include the permit number and location, the reasons for your objection, and your contact information.
Notices Of Intent 
 

Public Hearing

If at least 1 objection is received, a public hearing will be scheduled to hear the matter and gather facts. After the hearing, the hearing officer will consider the objective facts and make a recommendation to the Director of Public Works. Ultimately, a Director’s Decision will either Approve or Deny the hearing officer’s recommendation.

 

Tentative Approval

Shall the Director’s Decision approve the recommendation to approve an application, or if there are no concerns and/or objections, the applicant will be issued a 90-day tentative approval letter to obtain:

 

Final Approval

Once all the items in the tentative approval letter are received, Public Works will review the documents for approval.

 

Appeal

Final decisions may be appealed to the Board of Appeals within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of an approved or denied permit application. For further information, please contact the Board of Appeals in person at 1650 Mission Street, Suite 304, or call 415-575-6880.

 

Register your Business

Every person or entity doing business in the City and County of San Francisco must possess a valid Business Registration Certificate from the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector, as stated in Article 12A of the San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code. This code also applies to businesses located outside of San Francisco that perform business transactions or services in San Francisco.

 

Single Day Use for an Event

(Issued as Temporary Occupancy Permit)

In situations where a mobile food facility is requested for a private catering event, a Temporary Occupancy Permit can be issued. No monetary transactions in the public right-of-way will be permitted under this permit.

Recommend applying for this permit a minimum of 4 business days prior to the event date (permit date).  The "No Parking" signs will need to be posted at the site and activated a minimum of 72 hours prior to the permit date.
No exceptions will be granted.

To apply, please submit the following:

  • Application: Temporary Occupancy Permit Application. The permit applicant may be either the event sponsor or food truck owner who will be accepting responsibility for the occupied space and the conditions of the permit. 
     
  • Authorization Letter
    • If the food truck vendor is applying for the permit, provide a written authorization letter from the event sponsor/fronting property owner stating the nature of the request, name of the truck(s), date, time, location, and statement that there will be no cash transactions and the mobile food facility will only service event patrons.
       
    • Alternatively, if the event sponsor is applying for the permit, provide a written authorization letter from the food truck vendor stating nature of the request, name of the truck(s), date, time, location, and statement that there will be no cash transactions and the mobile food facility will only service event patrons.
       
  • Certificate of Insurance (COI): The applicant for the permit must submit a COI as evidence of general commercial liability coverage and language that complies with Public Works-BSM’s requirements as identified in the Sample COI.
     
  • Food Truck Documents: Submit current copies of the following documents for the food truck(s):
    • Department of Public Health's Certificate of Sanitation and Decal
    • San Francisco Fire Department Permit and Decal
    • San Francisco Business Certificate
    • DMV Registration

       

Information Links

 

Permit Applications (Required)

 

Additional Resources

 

 

For More Information

For more information or clarification on any of the permit requirements, please contact us at:

San Francisco Public Works • Bureau of Street-Use & Mapping 
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor • San Francisco, CA 94103 • Map
Telephone : (415) 554-5810   Fax: (415) 554-6161
Office Hours : 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Monday through Friday, except official holidays

Note: all cash and check transactions must be submitted before 4:00 p.m.

 

Free Sample Merchandise

  • Free sample merchandise

 

What is considered Free Sample Merchandise? 

A Free Sample Merchandise (FSM) Permit is the distribution of free sample goods for the purpose of promoting any merchandise, commodity, property, trade, business, service, art or skill, on any street, sidewalk or public right-of-way in the City and County of San Francisco. SF Public Works will evaluate the application as it relates to Article 5.5 of the Public Works Code.  

Please note that for FSM that include distribution of food, drink, or any other consumable items, the monitoring and issuance of permits for consumable items is regulated by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and will require a separate permit. 

This permit does not include the occupancy of the right of way with street furniture; including, but not limited to the following items: 

  • Tables 

  • Canopies/Tents 

  • Wagons 

  • Carts, whether mobile or stationary 

  • Pushcarts 

 

It may be possible to apply for a Temporary Occupancy Permit for the use of these items in conjunction with the Free Sample Merchandise permit. 

 

Permit Information and Procedure 

  • All applicants must complete an Application to Distribute Free Sample Merchandise 

  • The Permittee shall post a $500 performance bond to ensure that public property is restored and cleaned of litter 

  • Payment of in the form of Credit Card/Check/Cash (Fee Schedule

 

For More Information

For more information or clarification on any of the permit requirements, please contact us at:

San Francisco Public Works • Bureau of Street-Use & Mapping 
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor • San Francisco, CA 94103 • Map
Telephone : (415) 554-5810   Fax: (415) 554-6161
Office Hours : 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Monday through Friday, except official holidays

Note: all cash and check transactions must be submitted before 4:00 p.m.

 

Display Merchandise

  • merchant display

 

What You Need To Know

In order to enhance the viability of retail establishments in the commercial district, the City has established a process that would allow retail business owners to display some of their merchandise on a portion of the sidewalk in front of their business under Order 166,458.  To balance safety and accessibility with commercial prosperity, the City has established the following requirements for all business owners who wish to obtain a revocable street-use permit to display merchandise on the sidewalk in front of their retail business establishment:

  • Display merchandise can be placed only on the sidewalk in front of the retail establishment applying for permit. 

  • The sidewalk in front of the business must be wide enough such that a minimum of six feet of pedestrian clearance, which must be free of all obstacles, can be established. 

  • Placement of display merchandise on the sidewalk must not in any way interfere with curb ramps, access to the building, driveways or access to any fire escape. 

  • Placement of display merchandise on the sidewalk must conform to all Federal, State, and Local laws and regulations. 

  • Applicants can now renew permits and pay renewal invoices over the internet. 

 

Design Guidelines

Placement of display merchandise on the sidewalk must conform to the following design guidelines:

  • The top of the display, including stand and merchandise must be at least two and a half feet above the sidewalk. The top of the display may not be more than 3'-10" above the sidewalk nor more than 2 feet or 25% of the width of the sidewalk in front of the building (whichever is less). 

  • Display of fruits and vegetables must be protected by an awning, which must extend a minimum of 6 inches beyond the full length and width of display racks. 

  • The finish materials used for display merchandise must be smooth, nonabsorbent and cleanable. 

 

Applicants must submit the following with their application:

  1.  Complete Display Merchandise Permit Application

  2. A site plan showing: 

    1. Entrance to business and other building entrances. 

    2. Property lines, sidewalk width and all surface obstructions within 15 feet of occupied area (e.g. fire hydrants, streetlights, parking meters, etc). 

    3. Width of occupied area, full dimensions and material (finish paint, laminate, aluminum, plywood, etc) of the display stand and awnings with their relative proximity with 6-foot pedestrian clearance. 

  3. An itemized list of merchandise intended to be displayed. 

  4. Copy of S.F. Business License

  5. A one time non-refundable processing fee payable to Public Works. See Fee Schedule

  6.  Submit evidence of general liability insurance, a Certificate of Insurance for the business with minimum of $2,000,000 general aggregate and specifically naming “The City and County of San Francisco, its officers, officials, employees, agents, and volunteers” as additional insured. (Sample)

 

Application Approval Process

  • Once it is determined that an applicant has met all the basic requirements, the application is sent to the Department of Public Health (DPH) for review if the requested display merchandise includes food. 

  • As soon as the application is cleared by DPH, Public Works will issue a Public Notice, advising the public that a Permit that would allow the subject retail establishment to display merchandise in the sidewalk area is about to be issued. 

  • The applicant will be required to post a copy of the Public Notice in a readily visible place on the frontage of the applying business establishment for ten calendar days. (sample

  • If there are no objections from the public, the application will be approved and a Revocable Street-Use Permit will be issued. 

  • Applicant shall pay an annual permit processing fee plus inspection fee per square foot of sidewalk area occupied. 

  • If there are objections from the public, a Public Hearing will be scheduled. Approval or denial of the application would be determined at the Public Hearing. 

  • In the event of a denial, the applicant may appeal to the Board of Permit Appeals within 15 calendar days of the decision. 

  • When a permit is issued, a copy must be displayed visibly at the subject business establishment. 

 

Responsibilities of Permit Holders

In order maintain this Revocable Street-Use Permit, the permit holder must comply with all applicable rules and regulations which include the following:

  1. Permit holder is responsible for making sure that all activities on the sidewalk stay within the approved area. 

  2. Merchandise displayed in sidewalk area shall be the same displayed inside the retail establishment. 

  3. All transactions shall occur only inside the retail establishment. 

  4. All cut fruit, shelled nuts, raisins and other dried fruits are not allowed for display in sidewalk area. 

  5. All display stands shall be promptly removed from the sidewalk in accordance with approved time of operation each and everyday. 

  6. Permit holder shall maintain the storefront, exterior walls, sidewalk and gutter in a clean condition at all times. Sidewalks shall be washed daily at locations with food displays and as needed at others. 

  7. Shopping carts are not allowed in sidewalk area except at locations where the sidewalk clearance is 8 feet or more. 

  8. Active deliveries are not allowed in the sidewalk area after 10 am. 

  9. No garbage may be stored on any portion of the sidewalk. Garbage receptacles, which must be tightly closed, may be placed on sidewalk for pick-up after 6:00 p.m. on the day prior to pick-up. 

  10. Sidewalk areas may not be painted, landscaped or altered in anyway without prior approval of Public Works. 

  11. Permit holder must keep in force the liability insurance in which the City and County of San Francisco is named as additional insured as long as the permit is in effect. 

  12. Permit holder must display a copy of the Permit visibly for public view during business hours. 

  13. All permit holders must request for renewal not later than 30 days prior to the expiration date of this revocable street-use permit.

 

All applicants who can comply with all the above guidelines are encouraged to submit an application for permit to:

San Francisco Public Works • Bureau of Street-Use & Mapping 
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor • San Francisco, CA 94103 • Map
Telephone : (415) 554-5810   Fax: (415) 554-6161
Office Hours : 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Monday through Friday, except official holidays

Note: all cash and check transactions must be submitted before 4:00 p.m.

 

Compliance vs Penalties

The City and business owners must work together to maintain a balance between the City's obligation to protect the safety of the public and business prosperity. It would be ideal if we have the cooperation of all the businesses and there is full compliance. To be fair, businesses that are found to be non-compliant with the provisions of this permit will be issued a citation in accordance with the appropriate sections of the Public Works code. Every infraction is punishable by a fine not to exceed:

  • $100.00 for display stands not in compliance with permitted design, with Permits not visibly posted, unclean sidewalk and gutter area and sidewalk area painted, landscaped or altered without permit. 

  • $200.00 for operation without a valid Permit, obstruction of minimum pedestrian clearance, displaying merchandise different from the ones displayed inside the establishment, violating approved times of operation and non compliance with Local, State and Federal laws governing accessibility as may apply to this permit.

Cafe Tables and Chairs

  • cafe tables and chairs
 

Outdoor cafe and restaurant seating (tables and chairs) helps to enliven the sidewalk environment and encourage economic development in our neighborhood commercial districts and is one of many ways to activate the space in the public right of way under the SF Better Streets Plan.

The City has established Public Works Code, Article 5.2  allowing restaurants and cafes to provide customers with outdoor seating that preserves the charms and uniqueness for which San Francisco is world famous. Cafe Tables and Chairs Guidelines have also been established for all business owners who wish to obtain a Revocable Street-Use Permit to place Tables and Chairs on the sidewalk in front of their restaurant or cafe. These guidelines balance safety and accessibility with commercial prosperity.

Now you can Renew Your Permit and Pay Your Renewal Invoice online.

 

What ALL applicants need to know:

Tables & Chairs can be placed only on the sidewalk in front of the applicant's place of business.

  1. The sidewalk in front of the business must be wide enough such that a minimum of six feet of pedestrian clearance can be established. (this six feet of clearance must be free of all obstacles)
  2. Placement of tables and chairs on the sidewalk must not in any way interfere with curb ramps, access to the building, driveways or access to any fire escape.
  3. Placement of tables and chairs on the sidewalk must conform to all federal, state and local laws and regulations.  
  4. Additional Resources and Information  found in the Public Works Order 183,188 and Public Works Code.

 

Request for Planning Code Compliance

As part of the café tables & chairs application, you are required to gain City Planning approval. Download the Request for Planning Code Compliance. Take it to the City Planning counter located at the lobby of 1660 Mission Street along with plan, and photos for Planning staff review. Once DCP has determined that this request is in compliance with Planning Code, Public Works's Bureau of Street-Use and Mapping can then generate a Notice of Intent to Place Tables & Chairs and continue the permit process.

 

Design Guidelines

Placement of tables and chairs on the sidewalk must include the installation of diverters at each end to guide pedestrians away from the occupied area of the sidewalk. Diverters must conform to the following design guidelines:

  • Diverters must be flush with building at approximately 90 degrees.
  • Diverters must be sturdy, stable and have sufficient weight so that they cannot tip over or be blow away by the wind.
  • Diverters must be at least 30-inches high and must be solid within 24-inches of the ground.
  • Diverters must have contrasting colors so that they are distinctly visible to the visually impaired.
  • Diverters must be removable at the end of business hours.

 

Tables and Chairs Diagram

 

New Applicants Submittal Requirements

  1. Complete and submit the Request for Planning Code Compliance form after it has been approved and signed by the Planning Department, which is located at 1660 Mission Street, 1st Floor, Window #1.
  2. Complete and submit the Café Tables & Chairs permit application.
  3. Submit a copy of the S.F. Business License Certificate
  4. Submit recent photos of the sidewalk fronting your business to show the existing conditions.
  5. Submit fully dimensioned site plan created using a computer program. (See Sample Drawing) Hand drawn plans will not be accepted.
  6. Pay processing fee; payable to Public Works either by check or VISA/MC, ATM. (See Fee Schedule)
  7. Submit evidence of general liability insurance, a Certificate of Insurance for the business with minimum of $2,000,000 general aggregate and specifically naming “The City and County of San Francisco, its officers, officials, employees, agents, and volunteers” as additional insured.  (Sample)
  8. Submit all the above items to the Bureau of Street Use & Mapping permit office at 1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103.
  9. After the completed application is processed and the site plan has been approved, a Public Works Inspector will post an 11” x 17” Notification in the window or on the side of the business for ten calendar days. (sample)
  10. The applicant must contact the Bureau of Street Use & Mapping three business day after the end date on the Notification. If the Bureau did not receive any objections then the applicant may pay the annual fee and obtain the permit.

 

Renewal Requirements

  1. Site plan (If different from original submittal. See Tables and Chairs Site Plan)
  2. New copy of updated certificate Insurance providing general liability insurance endorsing the City and County of San Francisco, 1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103, as additional insured.
  3. Expired Tables and Chairs permit (if applicable)
  4. Renewal fees by check, VISA or MC. (See Fee Schedule)

Applicants can now Renew Permits and Pay Renewal Invoices over the internet.

 

Application Approval Process

  • Once it is determined that an applicant has met all of the basic requirements, Public Works will issue a Public Notice, informing the public that a permit is being considered to allow your business to place tables and chairs in the sidewalk area.
  • The applicant will be required to post a copy of the Public Notice in a readily visible place on the front of the applying business for ten calendar days.
  • If there are no objections from the public, the application will be approved and a Revocable Street-Use Permit will be issued.
  • If there are objections from the public, a Public Hearing will be scheduled. Approval or denial of the application is determined at the Public Hearing.
  • In the event of a denial, the applicant may appeal to the Board of Permit Appeals within 15 calendar days of the decision.
  • Inspection fees will be collected at the time the permit is issued, a copy must be displayed visibly at the place of business.

 

Responsibilities of Permit Holders

In order to maintain this Revocable Street-use Permit, the permit holder must comply with all applicable rules and regulations which include the following:

  1. Permit Holder is responsible for making sure that all activities on the sidewalk stay within the approved area.
  2. Food trays or carts, receptacles for dirty dishes, etc shall not be placed or stored on any portion of the sidewalk or roadway area of a public street.
  3. Only approved diverters, which may not have protruding legs or supports, shall be used at all times.
  4. Diverters, tables and chairs in the sidewalk area must be kept free of advertising, litter and other debris at all times.
  5. Permit holder must provide at least one durable trash can within the permit area at all times.
  6. All tables, chairs, diverters, etc. must be promptly removed from the sidewalk area at the end of each business day.
  7. Permit holder must keep in force the liability insurance in which the City and County of San Francisco is named as additional insured as long as the permit is in effect.
  8. Permit holders must display a copy of the permit visibly for public view during business hours.
  9. All permit holders must request a renewal no later than 30 days prior to the expiration date of the Revocable Street-Use Permit.

 

Useful Links

 

 

 

Sample Cafe Table & Chairs


The Grove - 301 Hayes St


Farina Pizza - 700 Valencia St


Cafe Greco - 423 Columbus Ave

 
Basso's - 3782 24th St

 

All applicants who can comply with these guidelines are encouraged to submit an application for a permit to:

San Francisco Public Works • Bureau of Street-Use & Mapping 
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor • San Francisco, CA 94103 • Map
Telephone : (415) 554-5810   Fax: (415) 554-6161
Office Hours : 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Monday through Friday, except official holidays

Note: all cash and check transactions must be submitted before 4:00 p.m.

 

Compliance vs Penalties

Businesses that are found to be non-compliant with the provisions of this permit will be issued a citation.  Multiple citations will result in increased renewal fees and / or revocation of the permit.