Latimer LeVay Fyock, LLCLatimer LeVay Fyock, LLC

Chicago Restaurants and Retailers: Applications Start On March 1 For City-Approved Sidewalk Signs

As Spring approaches, Chicago restaurants and retailers have a new opportunity to attract the increased foot traffic that comes with warmer weather. Starting on March 1, as part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot Chi Biz Strong Initiative package of pandemic relief, businesses can apply for permits to place sidewalk signs in front of their establishments to advertise their goods and services.

As stated in amendments to the Municipal Code of Chicago that were part of the initiative, “Making storefronts attractive and inviting promotes business and contributes to lively commercial corridors” and “street-level businesses will benefit from the ability to advertise their services with sidewalk signs.”

The City expects that sidewalk sign permit applications will be available on March 1 on the City of Chicago’s Inspections, Permitting & Licensing web portal. If you want such a sign to promote your storefront or street-level business, here’s what you need to know:

  • Each business will be allowed one sign per street address.
  • A sign can be A-frame, T-frame, or any other type of temporary self-supporting  sign,
  • A permit application must include a plan or sketch of the proposed sidewalk sign with proposed dimensions and language. Proof of commercial general liability insurance will also be required.
  • A sidewalk sign permit will be valid for five years from the date of issuance.
  • The sidewalk sign permit fee is $100 per year.
  • Upon approval, the City will provide the business with a decal that it must display on its sidewalk sign.
  • A sidewalk sign can be no larger than six square feet in area per face and no greater than four feet in height.
  • A sign can only contain information for goods and services provided on the premises.
  • A sidewalk sign cannot interfere with the flow of pedestrians, access to building entrances, pedestrian and traffic safety, or the aesthetic quality of the surrounding area.
  • A sidewalk sign can only be displayed during the hours the business is open to the public and must be removed from the sidewalk when the business has closed for the day.

If you have questions about applying for a sidewalk sign for your Chicago business under this new program, please contact Monica Palermo at Latimer LeVay Fyock for assistance.