Borough Hall will be closed on Friday, June 21 in observance of Juneteenth. Expect temporary road closures for the Spartan Spirit 5K on Saturday, June 22.

Apply for a sidewalk cafe permit

If you want to offer outdoor dining on the sidewalk outside of your business, you need a sidewalk cafe permit and approval from the Architectural Review Board. Any business that received a sidewalk cafe approval, as a COVID-19 temporary provision, must reapply for a permanent sidewalk cafe.

Need to know

  • Costs are non-refundable:
    • $60 for sidewalk cafe (new application)
    • $100 for sidewalk cafe allowing alcohol (amend ABC license as required)
    • $30 annual renewal fee
  • You need to renew your permit every year
  • Sidewalk cafes are not permitted before April 15

Before you start


You need to provide a sketch or hand drawing of the sidewalk area showing:

  • Location of proposed tables with dimensions, including chairs. Note the anticipated maximum seating capacity, plus number and location of all tables, walls, planters or barricades.
  • Location and height of barricades, if applicable.
  • Dimension of cafe area, including building frontage.
  • Existing streetscape features (planters, parking meters basement doors, hydrants, etc).
  • Location of any utility shut-offs, vents or sidewalk vault covers, bus stops, litter containers, fire hydrants, public telephones, street furniture in the vicinity of the proposed cafe.

Furniture guidelines

  • Close and remove umbrellas every evening.
  • Umbrellas are not permitted during storms or bad weather.
  • Furniture may be removed off the sidewalk daily, if necessary.
  • Furniture may not be placed on the curb line of the roadway (New Jersey Department of Transportation "Right-of-Way").
  • At least 4 feet of unobstructed pedestrian space must be provided. Obstructions include: trees, poles, meter poles, garbage or recycling receptacles, street furniture, and fire hydrants.
  • The Borough is not responsible for any lost, stolen or misplaced furniture.
  • Cafes must be completely removed at the end of a season.
  • Changes: Applicants may not place furniture or erect tents or umbrellas that are not approved. Minor changes can be made administratively and will not need an amended application.


  1. Complete the online application form.
  2. Submit a sketch of the proposed area.
  3. Provide proof of liability insurance, naming the Borough of Somerville as additionally insured.
  4. Pay fees.

What's next

We will review your application to check if it complies and then send it to the Architectural Review Board for their review. We may need to amend your application. We will contact you if you need to attend a meeting with the Architectural Review Board.

Division Street

If your business is on Division Street:

  • You can use space up to the depressed curb line on the stamped pavement.
  • You might need to move during events, if the Downtown Somerville Alliance needs more space.

Get help

Navleen Sappal
Land Use Director

(908) 725-2300 ext. 1981
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