public works department

Sidewalk Obstruction Business Use - First Time Applicants


Business Use Sidewalk Obstruction Permit

A business use sidewalk obstruction permit is required if you are a business in the City of Cambridge and want to use an “A” framed sign, sandwich board, display merchandise, or use tables and chairs on a sidewalk in the public way. Please read the new Outdoor Dining Guidelines before applying for this permit if you plan to use tables and chairs on a sidewalk in the public way. This permit is also required if you want to hang a temporary banner across a public way.

Note: If alcohol will be served as part of outdoor seating or if the obstruction is of a permanent nature, additional permits will be required.

Permit requirements for first time applicants:

1. Apply for a “Sidewalk Business Use” permit using the City of Cambridge's Citizens Access Portal.

2. Complete the online application.

3. As part of the online application process, the applicant must attach a drawing/plan that indicates the proposed location for the placement of the sign, tables, chairs or display of merchandise on the sidewalk. The drawing/plan must indicate the distances that the sign will be from the curb, building and any other obstructions that exist nearby. For a business that plans to serve alcohol in a corral seating area in the public way, an architect/engineer stamped drawing is required.

4. A copy of the business’s certificate of liability that names the City of Cambridge as an additional insured and the certificate holder must also be attached. The business must have $1,000,000 in general liability coverage per occurrence.

5. The applicant must pay the annual $75.00 application fee.

6. Start and end dates for a permit match the beginning and end dates on the business’s liability insurance.

7. The application process is the same for new applicants and permit renewals except new applicant’s applications are reviewed by City Counsel.

Visiting City Hall

Cambridge City Hall

795 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge MA, 02139
Ph: 617-349-4000
TTY: 617-349-4242

Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Louis DePasquale
City Manager

Lisa C. Peterson
Deputy City Manager