Apply for a commercial outdoor patio
To support local business recovery after COVID-19 — and following the success of the Temporary Outdoor Business Area (TOBA) program during the pandemic — we've simplified the process for applying for and operating outdoor patios.
On April 3, 2023, Council adopted a streamlined Outdoor Customer Service Area (OCSA) program, which replaces the TOBA program that expired on March 31, 2023. The new OCSA program introduces streamlined regulations and processes, and allows an eligible business to transition their temporary outdoor patio created during the pandemic to a permanent patio, or to apply for a new outdoor patio.
What is an OSCA and what businesses are eligible?
An Outdoor Customer Service Area is an area that is not permanently or fully enclosed or climate controlled, and is used for consuming food and beverages. An OSCA is permitted adjacent to a building that has one of these principal or accessory uses:
- retail food service
- neighbourhood public house
- licensed lounge
Cooking and food preparation are not permitted in Outdoor Customer Service Areas.
How do I convert my pandemic-time temporary patio to permanent or apply for a new patio?
If you want to convert your temporary outdoor patio created during the pandemic to a permanent patio, you must submit a proposal. If you have not converted your temporary patio to permanent in time for our business licence renewal process at the end of 2023, you'll be subject to enforcement of all relevant District regulations.
If you want to apply for a new OCSA, you can submit a proposal at any time.
When to submit your proposal
In certain cases, such as with liquor primary establishments, the Liquor and Cannabis Retail Branch (LCRB) licencing process can take many months to complete. As such, we require all temporary patio operators to submit a proposal to us as soon as possible. This will allow ample time for the LCRB licencing process to be completed.
How to submit a proposal
Review these documents to learn how to prepare and submit your proposal:
- Guide for Establishing Outdoor Customer Service Areas – Details the new relaxed regulations and streamlined process for establishing or transitioning an outdoor patio in the District
- Outdoor Customer Service Area Checklist – Provides a self-assessment tool to evaluate and demonstrate compliance with District regulations
Proposal application requirements
To submit your proposal, compile and email the following materials to PropertyUse@dnv.org:
- A completed and signed Outdoor Customer Service Area Checklist
- Written permission from the registered owner of the property supporting the proposed patio
- A fully-dimensioned site plan of your proposed patio with a seating plan and seating count. The plans must delineate and label the area of the proposed patio and the interior floor space of the principal use to which the OCSA is accessory. The plans must indicate the location of fire extinguishers on the premises
- Elevation drawing(s) of your proposed patio showing heights of fencing, railings, decks, signage and other structures
- Photographs of the proposed location of the patio and/or of your existing TOBA
- Any other documents that you feel may clarify/support your proposed patio(s)
- Other information that may be required to ensure compliance with all District bylaws and guidelines, and to indicate compliance with any regulations from other authorities having jurisdiction
If you prefer not to email your documents, you can drop hard copies off at District Hall, or send them by regular mail: 355 W Queens Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7N 4N5, attention to the Property Use Department.
Additional requirements may apply if you intend to serve liquor on your outdoor patio. Upon initial review of your Proposal, District staff will advise you of such additional requirements, based on the specific liquor license type and business case.
What are the fees to apply for an OCSA?
There is no application fee to submit your proposal for review. If your proposal triggers additional processes, such as a Municipal Liquor Licence Endorsement Process, Building Permit, or a License Agreement for use of public land, standard District processes and applicable fees apply.
What do I need to know if my business serves alcohol?
The BC Liquor and Cannabis Retail Branch must approve any outdoor patio that serves alcoholic beverages. You can apply online on the province's website.
District Council will be asked to provide a municipal endorsement to the LCRB for certain types of liquor licences.
For additional information, please contact PropertyUse@dnv.org or 604-990-2480.
Supporting businesses while building more vibrant streets
Following the pandemic, staff developed a suite of minor regulatory amendments and a streamlined process to establish outdoor patios permanently.
In November 2022, we consulted business owners and the public to gauge public sentiment and ensure the proposed changes align with community and business needs.