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Outdoor Displays / Seating

Outdoor Displays

Requirements and Limitations of Outdoor merchandise Display Permits


The following conditions are the minimum requirements that apply to outdoor display of merchandise, as set forth in Chapter 12.04 of the Sonoma Municipal Code. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in the revocation of the permit.
1. Outdoor display of merchandise on sidewalk areas is allowed only in conjunction with operation of an adjacent commercial business. Merchandise displayed in front of a business must be confined to that portion of sidewalk located directly in front of the business.

2. Outdoor merchandise displays are subject to the following requirement:

  • Maximum Area: The area devoted to outdoor display of merchandise shall not exceed a foot print of sixteen (16) square feet per business.
  • Maximum Height: the maximum height for any portion of an outdoor merchandise display is seven (7) feet.
  • Dimensions: Outdoor merchandise display areas shall not extend more than two (2) feet from the adjacent store front.

3. Proof of liability insurance must be provided to the City as part of the original permit application and upon renewal of the permit. The insurance must provide a minimum coverage of $2 million per occurrence, with a separate endorsement declaring the City of Sonoma as an additional insured party.

4. Outdoor merchandise display areas shall only be allowed where there is adequate room to accommodate normal pedestrian and handicapped traffic as well as the display area. In all cases, a minimum clearance of four feet must be maintained unimpeded between the display area and any curb or obstruction. In addition, doorways and other building entrances or exists must not be impeded by the display.

5. The outdoor merchandise display must be kept clean, attractive, safe, and in good repair.

6. Outdoor display of merchandise is limited to the hours of operation of the related commercial business. All material associated with the merchandise display must be removed from the sidewalk and taken indoors upon the close of each business day.

7. Outdoor Merchandise Display permits may be suspended at any time and without prior notice by the City Manager or his or her designee due to actual or anticipated conflicts with the use of the sidewalk area.

Sidewalk Seating

Requirements and Limitations of Sidewalk Seating Permits


The following conditions are the minimum requirements that apply to sidewalk, as set forth in Chapter 12.06 of the Sonoma Municipal Code. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in the revocation of the permit.
1. Sidewalk seating shall only be allowed in commercial zoning districts and only in conjunction with and directly adjacent to an indoor restaurant which operates the seating. The sidewalk seating area shall extend no further than the actual street frontage of the indoor restaurant space. The sidewalk seating associated with an indoor restaurant shall be confined to a single area as designated on an approved permit.

2. The total amount of outdoor seating associated with an indoor restaurant, whether on the sidewalk or on private property, shall not exceed 25 percent of the indoor seating of the restaurant, unless a greater amount is approved by use permit as set forth in Chapter 19.03 SMC.

3. Outdoor seating areas shall only be allowed where there is adequate room to accommodate both normal pedestrian and handicapped traffic and the seating area. A minimum six-foot clear area of sidewalk between the seating area and any curb or obstruction shall be provided.

4. All outdoor seating furniture, including tables, chairs, planters and umbrellas, shall be moveable. Umbrellas must be secured with a minimum base of not less than 60 pounds. Outdoor heaters, music and speakers are prohibited.

5. The Operator shall not permit the following outside the building: food preparation; tables preset with utensils glasses, napkins or condiments; busing stations or storage; trash receptacles. All exterior surfaces shall be easily cleanable and shall be kept clean at all times by the permittee. The permittee shall be responsible for maintaining the outdoor seating area in a clean and safe condition at all times.

6. Compliance with all applicable regulations of the department of alcoholic beverage control shall be required.