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Asheville unveils flexibility in allowing business use of sidewalks, private lots
Monday, 15 June 2020 15:54

From Staff Reports

The City of Asheville — on May 22 —  began accepting requests from businesses and organizations to temporarily use up to 50 percent of private parking lots, landscape areas and walkways for merchandise display and sale and dining, provided that temporary outdoor expansion guidelines for these spaces are followed, according to a posting on the city’s website. 

“Requests that fall within the guidelines are not subject to a formal permit application process,” the posting noted.

One may visit the website to access — online — a temporary outdoor expansion request form for private parking lots, landscape areas and walkways.

In explaining its new flexibility, the posting stated, “The City of Asheville is committed to advancing ways of using space to support economic recovery and community needs while prioritizing public health and safety, and recognizes the importance of being flexible and nimble as needs and priorities evolve. In response to stakeholder input and public health guidance, the city is launching new initiatives to allow businesses and organizations to temporarily expand usage of outdoor spaces.”

Further, the posted noted, “Today (May 22), the city will begin accepting requests from businesses and organizations to temporarily use the public sidewalk directly adjacent to their storefront for merchandise display and outdoor dining, provided that the sidewalk maintains 6 feet of clear space for pedestrian passageway and temporary outdoor expansion guidelines for public sidewalks are followed. Businesses and organizations temporarily using adjacent public sidewalk areas will be required to maintain a continuous accessible route that meets Americans with Disabilities Act standards.”

Further, the posting states, “Guidelines for using private parking lots, landscape areas and walkways are different from those for using public sidewalks; for this reason, applicants must apply to use private and public spaces through separate online request forms. Call the Planner of the Day hotline at 259-5450 if you are unsure whether the space you are interested in using is public or private.”

The private and public space programs will be in effect until Oct. 31, or until the city alters or ends the temporary outdoor expansion program.

 Changes to the program may also be made based on feedback and evolving needs.

“Upon gaining city authorization, some businesses may be allowed to serve alcohol on temporarily extended premises in accordance with the North Carolina ABC Commission’s eligibility criteria and guidelines,” the city posting stated. “North Carolina’s ABC’s temporary extension is currently valid during Phase 2 of Governor (roy) Cooper’s easing of restrictions.”

 



 


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