We know that nothing stands between you and your morning coffee — courtesy of your favorite local café. Except for, well, sandwich boards and pedestal signs on the sidewalk.
With that in mind, the City of Charleston is working with businesses to clear unapproved signage from sidewalks. Beginning on Mon., May 16, citations will be issued to businesses using signs within public rights-of-way without a permit. Prior to Monday, warnings will be issued.
It’s a familiar scene: You’re strolling down King Street on your way to a café, when suddenly you see:
~ Half off heels 👠 ~
~ Come in, we’re open 👋 ~
~ Get your Taco Tuesday fix 🌮 ~
A few colorful sandwich boards stand on the path ahead, and you weave through them to get to the coffee shop. Starting next week, your walkway could be totally clear.
There’s already a city ordinance in place to keep sidewalks clear for public accessibility + safety — go here for the full details. Enforcement was temporarily dismissed during the pandemic. Now that crowds are returning to shops and eateries as pandemic restrictions have eased, unauthorized signs are getting the heave-ho.
There are a few work-arounds — signage and outdoor seating may be allowed if businesses are approved for permits like encroachment permits and the Sidewalk Café program. Encroachment permits may allow for items like planters, benches, and signs if certain criteria are met. The Sidewalk Café program authorizes food + bev service on a public right-of-way directly adjacent to the business.
On your next walk down King Street, count how many sidewalk signs you see. We’re thinking if several obstacles are removed from walkways in the city, getting that iced Americano is going to be a total cakewalk.