Restaurant Guidance for Active, Safe and Vibrant Streets
The City of Norfolk is pleased to offer restaurants in Downtown the option of using public sidewalks for outdoor dining areas, where you'll find a wide variety of outdoor dining arrangements, signage and seating styles. In 2019, the Downtown Norfolk Council worked closely with city staff and designers to create an easy-to-read and helpful guide for restaurant owners that can help simplify the process of creating an enjoyable outdoor dining experience.
These Design Guidelines are intended to ensure two important factors are considered: that restaurants use the public right-of-way for outdoor dining in a way that is safe for all users of the public way, and that the dining areas are visually appropriate for Downtown Historic Overlay District. The Guidelines provide standards for the use of outdoor dining areas in Downtown Norfolk in order to enhance the historic character, visual quality and pedestrian safety of the area while contributing positively to the vibrancy of street life.
Some of the topics addressed include:
Identifying the right dining and seating arrangement
Laying out the perimeter and what kind of barrier a restaurant might need
Selecting high quality, all weather furniture and fixtures
Landscaping with pots and plants
Adding lighting, signage and shade structures to a dining area
Building and maintaining a seasonal parklet
For more guidance and to apply for a permit to create an outdoor dining area, please contact the City of Norfolk's Department of City Planning at 757-664-4752 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The City of Norfolk process can include the following: