The City's Downtown Sidewalk Encroachment Permit Program allows downtown businesses to utilize the sidewalks in front of their businesses for advertising, special events, beautification, and other purposes. This program was created to develop a fair and equitable program that will enhance the overall appearance, ambiance and environment of the downtown business district. It was updated in November 2019 to better ensure that downtown remains accessible to pedestrians. A permit is required prior to placing any encroachments on the sidewalk.
Several significant changes were made to the program. The City created 3 sidewalk zones: the furnishing zone, the pedestrian zone, and the frontage zone. These zones distinguish the locations on the sidewalk where certain activities/encroachments can take place. The frontage zone, the location closest to the building, is where business encroachments are permitted. The size of this zone will vary based on what encroachments exist in the furnishing zone, the area closest to the curb. See the FAQs below for more information on these zones.
Other changes to the program include the creation of a corner triangle area at intersections. Encroachments are not permitted within this area so as to keep pedestrian ramps in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This update also increased the permit fee from $10 to $50 and requires that fenced cafe seating areas are removed from the sidewalks between November 1 and April 1.
Corner Triangle Area Diagrams:
- Main and 3rd
- Main and Grand
- Main and Willson
- Main and Black
- Main and Bozeman
- Main and Rouse
- Main and Church
- Main and Wallace
Planning Department Applications:
Development Review Applications (for fenced cafe areas)
Exclusive Use Permit for Fenced Cafe Areas
Downtown Sidewalk Encroachment Permits are required within the Downtown Business District in the B-3 zoning district on or between the north side of Lamme and the south side of Olive, and the east side of Broadway and the west side of 3rd.
A: Permitted encroachments include:
- Portable Signs (Sandwich board signs)
- Sidewalk Displays
- Bike Racks
- Sidewalk Vending Carts
- Tables and Chairs
- Planter Boxes or Hanging Pots
- Newspaper Dispensers
- Miscellaneous Items
- Fenced Cafe Seating Areas: These are permitted under an Exclusive Use Permit. Please see the FAQ for Fenced Cafe Seating Areas for more information.
A: Encroachments can be placed in the frontage zone only with the exception of bike racks which are allowed in the furnishing zone as well. The width of the frontage zone will vary based on the encroachments in the furnishing zone. Business owners can determine this width by measuring 6' from the innermost encroachment within the furnishing zone. The 6' zone is the pedestrian zone where encroachments are not permitted. The remaining space between the pedestrian zone and the front of the building is the frontage zone. Encroachments are not permitted in the corner triangle areas at the intersections. For more information on the corner triangle areas, visit FAQ #6 related to those areas or see the diagrams under "Helpful Links."
A: The 3 sidewalk zones created in the November 2019 update to the program include the furnishing zone, the pedestrian zone, and the frontage zone.
The furnishing zone is the zone closest to the curb. It begins at the curb and ends at the inside edge of the innermost encroachment (trash can, tree grate, sculpture, bike rack, etc.). Business encroachments are not allowed within this zone with the exception of bike racks. This area is reserved for street signs, bike racks, garbage or recycling receptacles, and street trees. This area may also contain art installations if permitted by the City.
The pedestrian zone begins at the inside edge of the furnishing zone and is a minimum of 6' wide. This zone is for pedestrian traffic only and is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. No encroachments are permitted within this zone.
The frontage zone lies between the inside edge of the pedestrian zone and the building. This is the location where encroachments are permitted. The size of this zone may vary depending on what items are installed in the furnishing zone.
A: Businesses must submit the following items in order to be considered for a new or renewed permit. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
- $50 application fee
- Sketch or photograph showing the location of all requested encroachments as well as all other encroachments on the sidewalk. This must show a complete view of the sidewalk including dimensions so the City can ensure that the pedestrian zone will be maintained.
- Certificate of Liability Insurance naming the City of Bozeman as additional insured. The State of Montana must also be included for encroachments on Main Street, Rouse Avenue, or Willson Avenue. Insurance coverage must include $1 million per occurrence with a $2 million general aggregate or $750,000 for each claim and $1.5 million per occurrence.
- Endorsement page for the insurance policy that shows that the City of Bozeman (and the State of Montana if applicable) has been added to the policy. This is a separate document from the insurance certificate.
- Current City of Bozeman business license or mobile vending license.
- Letter of support from the owner, operator, or manager of the business immediately adjacent to the sidewalk where the use is requested. This is only required for mobile vending carts and encroachments that will be placed in front of another business.
- Copy of a food purveyor's license or approval statement issued by the Gallatin City-County Health Department. This is only required for mobile vending carts and fenced cafe seating areas.
- Mobile vending carts are permitted on Main, Mendenhall, and Babcock Streets only.
- Only one cart is allowed per block face.
- Carts may not be more than 3' wide.
- Carts must be placed within the frontage zone only and may not encroach into the pedestrian zone.
- Carts are not permitted within the corner triangle area at intersections.
- All signage must be attached to the cart and may not exceed 6' in length.
- Carts must comply with all regulations in the mobile vending ordinance.
- Cart owners must submit written permission from the adjacent business owner or manager to the location where they are proposing to place their cart.
A: Fenced cafe seating areas in the downtown area are allowed under an exclusive use permit, not a downtown sidewalk encroachment permit. Once approved they are valid for 10 years but are reviewed annually and require an annual permit fee. They are transferable if the business is sold but only if a request is made to the Director of Public Works within 30 days of the sale of the business. They are only permitted from April 1 through October 31 and must be removed from the sidewalk beginning November 1.
Fenced cafe seating areas are required to serve alcohol outside of a downtown business establishment. In addition to an exclusive use permit, the applicant must apply for a site plan modification and a Special Use Permit (SUP) to serve alcohol through the City Planning Department. For more information on this process, please contact their office at 406-582-2260. The exclusive use permit will be submitted to the City Public Works Department at the same time that the modification and SUP applications are submitted to the City Planning Department.
An application for an exclusive use permit must be submitted with the following items:
- Site plan depicting the size and location of all requested encroachments as well as other existing obstructions or improvements (trash cans, street lights, signs, bike racks, etc.). This plan must show the square footage of the fenced area as well as the fence design and ingress and egress points. It must depict the width of the pedestrian zone.
- Certificate of Liability Insurance naming the City of Bozeman as additional insured. The State of Montana must also be included for encroachments on Main Street, Rouse Avenue, or Willson Avenue. Insurance coverage must include $1 million per occurrence with a $2 million general aggregate or $750,000 for each claim and $1.5 million per occurrence. This insurance must include coverage for the fenced café seating area.
- Current City of Bozeman business license corresponding to the use requested.
- Copy of a food purveyor's license or approval statement issued by the Gallatin City-County Health Department.
- Copy of a state-approved alcohol beverage license. Once the permit is approved but prior to constructing the fenced area, an updated copy of the state-approved alcohol beverage license must be submitted that includes the outdoor seating area.
- Permit Fee. This fee will be required after the permit is approved but prior to construction of the fenced area. This fee is based on the property value as determined by the Montana Department of Revenue, the square footage of the fenced area as well as the timeframe that the fenced area will be in place.