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Updates to the Temporary Outdoor Patio and Retail Space program will become effective April 1, 2021. This page contains the most up-to-date information.

In support of the continued need for physical distancing and economic recovery, the City will continue to provide the Temporary Outdoor Patio and Retail Space program in 2021. To give further certainty to business owners during the pandemic, this streamlined program will be provided through to April 30, 2022 at no cost. 

Please explore the options below to identify and pursue what may best meet your needs for a temporary outdoor patio or retail space.

If you have questions about the Temporary Patio and Outdoor Retail program, please contact us at roaduse.permit@edmonton.ca.

Public Safety and Accessibility are Our Priorities

The City is committed to working with business owners to find safe and accessible options and alternatives for their temporary outdoor patio and retail space. Public safety is our mutual priority.

2021 Temporary Outdoor Patio and Retail Space

Patios and Outdoor Retail spaces on Private Property

Changes to Zoning Bylaw 12800 were approved by City Council and came into effect on January 1, 2021. These changes make permanent the land use elements of the temporary guidelines for patios and retail spaces operating on private property. This means that businesses will be able to operate patios and outdoor retail spaces on private property without the requirement of a development permit, provided space complies with the criteria found in Section 12.2 of the Zoning Bylaw.

Patio on Private Property - Do I need a Permit?

A development permit is not required and no further authorization is needed for the operation of a patio on private property if the following criteria are met:

  • A development permit is not required and no further authorization is needed for the operation of a patio on private property if the following criteria are met:
    The business must be operating under an existing valid Development Permit for Bars and Neighbourhood Pubs, Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries, Restaurants or a Specialty Food Services Use. 
  • The new or expanded patio space must comply with the requirements of the underlying Zone and Overlay.
  • No part of a patio shall encroach into any Site Setbacks defined by the zone in which the patio is located, except in those parts of the Site Setback with lawn, Hardsurfaced materials, or decorative Hardsurfacing ground cover. Existing trees and shrubs may not be removed.
  • On-site parking may be used for patio space, except the required number of designated barrier free Vehicle Parking, which must remain available for parking use.
  • Permanent fences and barriers, planters, platform structures such as decks or stages shall comply with the zone and shall not exceed 1.2m in height. All decks, regardless of height, require a Building Permit. Stages greater than 1.2m in height require a Building Permit.
  • Subject to the approval of the applicable City Department, no part of the patio, including exit gates, shall open or encroach into road right-of-way.
  • No audio-visual equipment may be installed at a height exceeding 2.1m (7ft) above grade, measured to the middle of the device, and shall not be attached to a building. Televisions, speakers, and video displays must be oriented facing away from vehicle traffic and shall not be arranged consecutively to create a wall or visual obstruction.

Outdoor Retail Space on Private Property - Do I need a Permit?

A development permit is not required and no further authorization is needed for the operation of an outdoor retail space on private property if the following criteria are met:

  • The business must be operating under an existing valid Development Permit for Convenience Retail Stores, General Retail Stores or Market Use.
  • The new or expanded outdoor retail space shall comply with the requirements of the underlying Zone and Overlay.
  • No part of an outdoor retail space shall encroach into any Site Setbacks defined by the zone in which the outdoor retail space is located, except in those parts of the Site Setback with lawn, Hardsurfaced materials, or decorative Hardsurfacing ground cover. Existing trees and shrubs may not be removed.
  • On-site parking may be used for outdoor retail space, except the required number of designated barrier free Vehicle Parking, which must remain available for parking use.
  • Permanent fences and barriers, planters, platform structures such as decks or stages shall comply with the zone and shall not exceed 1.2m in height. All decks, regardless of height, require a Building Permit. Stages greater than 1.2m in height require a Building Permit.
  • The sale and on-site consumption of alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis is not permitted in an outdoor retail space.
  • Cooking or food and drink preparation is not permitted in an outdoor retail space.
  • Subject to the approval of the applicable City Department, no part of the outdoor retail space, including exit gates, shall open or encroach into road right-of-way.
  • No outdoor speakers or sound systems may be used.


Tents, Canopies, Shelters and other Structures on Private Property - Do I need a Permit?

Generally, a single structure located on private property not exceeding 10 sqm (107 sq ft) does not require a development permit or building permit, provided it:

  • Complies with the requirements of the underlying zone, including but not limited to height, setbacks from other buildings and property lines, and site coverage
  • Is not attached to any building
  • Is not connected to electricity, plumbing or gas lines
  • Does not pose a safety hazard

If a proposed patio or outdoor retail space does not comply with these criteria, all required permits must be obtained before installing any structure or operating the space.

Contact developmentservices@edmonton.ca for any questions related to operating a patio or outdoor retail space on private property, including proposed structures.

Heaters on Private Property - Do I need a permit?

All heaters must be ULC- or CSA-certified.  Solid-, gel- or liquid-fuel fire features are not permitted.

Outdoor patio heaters may be electric or propane (with max 20lb tank), located at least 3m (10ft) away from City tree branches, operated per the manufacturer’s directions and stored off the road right-of-way when not in use.

All heaters intended for use inside a tent or shelter require City approval and may require additional permit(s).

Noise

All patios and outdoor retail spaces that are located on private property must comply with Community Standards Bylaw 14600, specifically Sections 14, and 19-22.

Temporary Patio and Outdoor Retail Space on Public Property

If you are proposing a temporary patio or outdoor retail space on public property (for example, sidewalk) or if your temporary patio or outdoor retail space may be on both private and public property, you have 3 options: 

Option 1: Declaration - Minimal Patio and Outdoor Retail

You plan to set out tables and chairs only or a simple outdoor retail space, and you are able to maintain a 2 metre pedestrian space on the sidewalk. By choosing this option, you are permitted to set out your outdoor patio or retail space until November 1, 2021. 

How to participate

Please fill out this form to register. You will need to: 

  1. Sign a declaration and upload it to the form
  2. Upload a Noise Mitigation Plan if you are proposing outdoor audio-visual equipment for your proposed patio (Please see the Noise Mitigation Plan Section for details). 

There is no approval process under this option. By signing and submitting the declaration, you have accepted the responsibility of following either the Guidelines for Temporary Patios Located on Public Property or the Guidelines for Temporary Outdoor Retail Space Located on Public Property. You are welcome to set up your temporary patio or retail space after completing the form and submitting the signed declaration.

Option 2: Licence of Occupation - Standard Outdoor Patio

If you need to extend your temporary outdoor patio into the roadway in order to maintain a 2 metre pedestrian space or if you have small additional structures planned for the area (such as an attached fence), you are required to enter into a  Standard Licence of Occupation with the City. Please note, terms of the Standard Licence of Occupation is not subject to any modification. The Standard Licence of Occupation is provided for your reference and a list of requirements for this option.

The Standard Licence of Occupation allows for a temporary outdoor patio until November 1, 2021, with the option of continuing through the winter season between November 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022.

How to participate
  1. Fill out this form to express your interest in participating. You will be asked to upload your proposal and as much detail as possible (plan and/or written information). 
  2. Once you fill out the form, the City will be in touch with you shortly for the next step, which may include entering into the Standard Licence of Occupation. 

Option 3: Licence of Occupation - Non-Standard Outdoor Patio or Outdoor Retail Space

If you are planning to expand your temporary outdoor patio or retail space into the roadway in order to maintain a 2 metre pedestrian space, if you are looking to include additional structures in a temporary outdoor patio or retail space, or if your proposal does not otherwise meet the requirements of the above 2 options, we will be working with you on a case-by-case basis. Please note, in this case, you will likely require other permits (at a cost) and it may take approximately 12 weeks to receive full approvals.  

How to participate
  1. Please fill out this form, and we will be in touch with you shortly. Please note, you will be asked to upload your proposal, including as much detail as possible (plan and/or written information). 
Guidelines for Temporary Patios Located on Public Property

General Requirements

  1. Temporary patios shall only be permitted for Bars and Neighbourhood Pubs; Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries; Restaurants; and Specialty Food Services Uses operating under an existing valid Development Permit.
  2. Temporary patios permitted under this guideline shall extend no later than November 1, 2021; however the City may terminate these permissions upon 24 hours notice. Further, the City may terminate the permissions without notice in the event of an emergency and/or operational safety concern.
  3. The business owner is responsible for obtaining all relevant permissions, including but not limited to AGLC, AHS, and their landlord. The business owner must comply with all regulations and requirements from AGLC, AHS, and other relevant regulatory bodies.
  4. The business owner of a temporary patio shall mitigate any negative impacts on abutting or nearby residential development; including prioritizing the use of private land before utilizing public space.
  5. No outdoor audio-visual equipment (for example speakers, sound systems, television, visual displays, projectors, etc.) may be used on a temporary patio unless a noise mitigation plan is submitted to the City. Audio-visual equipment exceeding a height of 1.2m (4ft) above grade, measured from the top of the device, must be approved by the City relative to sightlines and shall not be attached to a building. Audio-visual equipment must be secured in such a manner that does not damage any public property and without endangering any underground utilities. Audio-visual equipment shall only be placed on the business owner’s private property, not on public property. Televisions, speakers, and video displays must be oriented facing away from vehicle traffic and shall not be arranged consecutively to create a wall or visual obstruction.
  6. The use of a temporary patio shall comply with the Community Standards Bylaw at all times.
  7. Wheelchair access must be provided to, and throughout, the temporary patio. 
  8. Umbrellas must stand at least 2.1m (7ft) above the walking surface.
  9. Cooking or food and drink preparation is not permitted on temporary patios.
  10. A minimum 1.5m (5ft) clearance from fire department (siamese) connections and hydrants must be maintained on a temporary patio.
  11. A fire extinguisher (minimum 2A-10BC) must be available within 23m (75ft) of any part of the temporary patio.
  12. Temporary patios must not extend in front of any building exit. Temporary patios must not extend in front of adjacent tenant spaces or beyond business frontage without written permission from affected adjacent property owners and tenants; this includes any overhanging elements. 
  13. A temporary outdoor patio shall not contain any structures, permanent or temporary, except for tables, chairs, umbrellas, heaters, temporary movable patio perimeter fencing/barriers  and temporary movable patio perimeter planters. Any temporary movable patio perimeter fencing/barriers and temporary movable patio perimeter planters must not exceed a height of 1.2m (4 ft.) above grade. If the business owner requires any other structure, they must enter into a License of Occupation with the City.
  14. Permanent fences and barriers, portable toilets, platforms, decks, or stages are not permitted. Optional temporary movable patio perimeter fencing, planters, or barriers 1.2m (4ft) high or less are permitted, provided they are not damaging any public property, and are secured without endangering any underground utilities and in such a manner that they are readily movable at all times.
  15. When a temporary patio with capacity for more than 60 people is enclosed by a temporary perimeter fence, it must have at least two separate exits. Only one exit is required where a temporary patio has a capacity of up to 60 people. Exit openings must be at least 0.9m (3ft) in clear width, and provided with exit signs where not clearly visible to patrons.
  16. Any exit gates must swing freely outward from the temporary patio during hours of operation. ULC- or CSA-certified electric or propane patio heaters (with max 20lb tank) are permitted where located at least 3m (10ft) away from City tree branches, operated per the manufacturer’s directions and must be stored off the road right-of-way when not in use. Solid-, gel- or liquid-fuel fire features are not permitted.  Any heater intended for use inside a tent or shelter is subject to City approval.
  17. A clear path of pedestrian travel of minimum 2.0m (6’6”) must be maintained on the public sidewalk. A clear path of 2.3m (7’6”) is recommended.
  18. The side of the temporary patio adjacent to vehicle traffic shall maintain a minimum distance of 0.65m (2’2”) from the edge of any adjacent travel lane.
    Temporary patios shall not be permitted in any portion of a parking lane or travel lane.
  19. Temporary patios shall not be placed within 5.0m (16’5”) from the corner of an intersection and 10.0m (32’9”) from the corner of an intersection that has a stop/yield sign or pedestrian crosswalk.
  20. Temporary patios must not encroach into existing loading zones, Accessible Parking Stalls, bike racks and bike corrals, tow away zones, bus stops, shared pathways or designated bike lanes.
  21. The business owner is responsible for maintaining any structures and equipment in a safe and clean condition and in good repair. This maintenance must include keeping the area free of any potential dangers; including power cords, debris, and pooling water.
  22. City power receptacles shall not be used for any temporary patio purposes.
Guidelines for Temporary Outdoor Retail Space Located on Public Property

General Requirements

  1. Temporary outdoor retail space shall only be permitted for Convenience Retail Stores; General Retail Stores; and Market Uses operating under an existing valid Development Permit.
  2. Temporary outdoor retail space permitted under this guideline shall extend no later than November 1, 2021; however the City may terminate these permissions upon 24 hours notice. Further, the City may terminate the permissions without notice in the event of an emergency and/or operational safety concern.
  3. The business owner is responsible for obtaining all relevant permissions, including but not limited to AGLC, AHS, and their landlord. The business owner must comply with all regulations and requirements from AGLC, AHS, and other relevant regulatory bodies.
  4. The sale and on-site consumption of alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis is not permitted in a temporary outdoor retail space.
  5. Temporary outdoor retail space shall not contain any structures, permanent or temporary, except for tables, chairs, umbrellas and heaters. If the business owner requires any other structure, they must enter into a License of Occupation with the City.
  6. The business owner of a temporary outdoor retail space shall mitigate any negative impacts on abutting or nearby residential development; including prioritizing the use of private land before utilizing public space.
  7. No outdoor audio-visual equipment (for example speakers, sound systems, television, visual displays, projectors, etc.) may be used on a temporary outdoor retail space.
  8. Temporary outdoor retail spaces shall comply with the Community Standards Bylaw at all times.
  9. Wheelchair access must be provided to, and throughout, the temporary outdoor retail space.
  10. Umbrellas must stand at least 2.1m (7ft) above the walking surface.
  11. Cooking or food and drink preparation is not permitted on temporary outdoor retail spaces.
  12. A minimum 1.5m (5ft) clearance from fire department (siamese) connections and hydrants must be maintained on a temporary outdoor retail space.
  13. A fire extinguisher (minimum 2A-10BC) must be available within 23m (75ft) of any part of the temporary outdoor retail space.
  14. Temporary outdoor retail spaces must not extend in front of any building exit. Temporary outdoor retail spaces must not extend in front of adjacent tenant spaces, exits, or beyond business frontage without written permission from affected adjacent property owners and tenants; this includes any overhanging elements.
  15. ULC- or CSA-certified electric or propane patio heaters (with max 20lb tank) are permitted where located at least 3m (10ft) away from City tree branches, operated per the manufacturer’s directions and must be stored off the road right-of-way when not in use. Solid-, gel- or liquid-fuel fire features are not permitted.
  16. A clear path of pedestrian travel of minimum 2.0m (6’6”) must be maintained on the public sidewalk. A clear path of 2.3m (7’6”) is recommended.
  17. The side of the temporary outdoor retail space adjacent to vehicle traffic shall maintain a minimum distance of 0.65m (2’2”) from the edge of any adjacent travel lane. 
  18. Temporary outdoor retail spaces shall not be permitted in any portion of a parking lane or travel lane.
  19. Temporary outdoor retail space shall not be placed within 5.0m (16’5”) from the corner of an intersection and 10.0m (32’9”) from the corner of an intersection that has a stop/yield sign or pedestrian crosswalk.
  20. Temporary outdoor retail space must not encroach into existing loading zones, Accessible Parking Stalls, bike racks and bike corrals, tow away zones, bus stops, shared pathways or designated bike lanes.
  21. The business owner is responsible for maintaining any structures and equipment in a safe and clean condition and in good repair. This maintenance must include keeping the area free of any potential dangers; including power cords, debris, and pooling water.
  22. City power receptacles shall not be used for any temporary outdoor retail purposes.

Noise Mitigation

Noise Mitigation and Being a Good Neighbour

A noise mitigation plan is required when a patio is located on public property and proposes to use audio-visual equipment.

The temporary patio program is based on mutual trust, respect, and accountability between businesses, the City, and the general public. We are asking businesses who will be using audio-visual equipment (such as, TVs, speakers) in their temporary patio spaces to provide a noise mitigation plan. This will explain exactly how they will be keeping noise to a minimum and being a good neighbour.

A noise mitigation plan must answer the following questions:

How will sound be managed at the location? Who will be responsible for noise levels? For example: security staff or a manager on site will conduct periodic walkthroughs of the patio to assess noise levels, and if necessary, remind patrons to keep noise to a minimum.

How late into the evening will it remain open? How many speakers are present, and where are they located?
Consider your patio hours of operation and how the noise levels will comply with the Community Standards Bylaw 14600, specifically Sections 14, and 19-22. Are patio hours different from the venue (does the patio close at 10pm and can patrons move indoors?)

How are you ensuring that your speakers will not interfere with neighbours or traffic? For example, set TV volume to a consistent level, and keep in mind that the volume should be turned down in the evening after 10pm. Speakers and TVs should face inwards, and away from the adjacent roadway.

How will noise be managed outside the venue and who is responsible to ensure that noise from the venue does not disrupt surrounding properties?
For instance, It is a good idea to touch base with neighbours to let them know what will be occurring and if there are concerns to chat with the managers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Are Boardwalk Sidewalks permitted ?

For those businesses that already have a boardwalk sidewalk, we will coordinate with these businesses to allow them to continue to operate their patio. This may mean requiring business owners to address the traction of the boardwalks in all weather conditions by installing slip resistant materials in addition to requirements to address snow clearing.

Due to timing and resources, we will not be able to permit new boardwalk sidewalk construction. However we are committed to working with businesses for alternative solutions.

Are heaters allowed on patios?

ULC- or CSA-certified electric or propane patio heaters (with max 20lb tank) are permitted where located at least 3m (10ft) away from City tree branches, operated per the manufacturer’s directions and not stored on the road right-of-way when not in use. Solid-, gel- or liquid-fuel fire features are not permitted.

Are these guidelines mandatory?

In order to qualify for the streamlined approval process, you will need to follow these guidelines if you choose to set up a patio or outdoor retail space. 

Are pets allowed?

Please refer to Alberta Health Services guidelines for direction on the permission of pets.

How do I acquire appropriate fencing?

Fencing is not required. However, temporary traffic control in the form of pylons, signs and barricades may be supplied by the City of Edmonton or private contractors.

What type of barrier/fencing material am I allowed to use?

With respect to temporary traffic control, barricades, pylons and signs may be used to secure an area on road right-of-way.

Am I allowed to have live music?

At this point all new temporary patios will not be approved for live music outside and must follow the Community Standards Bylaw for noise restrictions.

I paid for a sidewalk cafe permit. Can I get a refund?

At this point, we are not offering refunds for previously paid fees. 

Can I serve liquor on the temporary patio?

The business owner is responsible for obtaining all relevant permissions, including but not limited to AGLC, AHS, and their Landlord.

Registration Process

How do I know I have been approved?

For businesses choosing Option 1

There is no approval process for a temporary outdoor patio or retail space. By signing and submitting the declaration, you have accepted the responsibility of following the Guidelines for Temporary Patios Located on Public Property or the Guidelines for Temporary Outdoor Retail Space Located on Public Property. 

For businesses choosing Option 2 or 3

We will work individually with businesses on a case-by-case basis in order to ensure appropriate permits and licences are in place. Licences will need to be signed by both the business and the City prior to the opening of the temporary patio or outdoor retail space.

Temporary Traffic Control

What are temporary traffic control measures?

In order to address the safety and accessibility of the temporary spaces, the City may provide temporary traffic control measures that may include pylons, barricades and signs.

Is there a fee for road closure and barriers?

At this time, there is no fee for the City to provide any temporary traffic control devices to address the safety and accessibility of the temporary outdoor patio or retail spaces in 2021.

Can I put a patio in a bike lane?

A patio must not interfere with any bike facility. However, the accommodation of a bike lane may be possible by contacting roaduse.permit@edmonton.ca.

What does it cost to get traffic control measures from the City?

At this time, there is no cost to receive temporary traffic control support from the City.

Your Snow and Ice Obligation

All patio owners are expected to keep the area clear of snow and debris at all times.

For More Information

Email roaduse.permit@edmonton.ca

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