2023 Temporary Outdoor Dining Area Expansion Program

To continue to support economic recovery efforts for local restaurants, East Lansing City Council approved Policy Resolution 2023-4 in March 2023.

The policy resolution extends the streamlined approval process and temporary elimination of application fees for businesses that wish to expand or establish new outdoor dining areas through November 15, 2023 under the following conditions:

  • Capacity added by the modified site plan may not exceed either a) the current capacity limits of any approved site plan or b) under any Pandemic Order or Emergency Order issued by public health officials.
  • If the proposed expansion is in a parking area the number of required parking spaces provided on that site shall be reduced by no more than 25%.
  • If alcohol is to be served in the added service area the restaurant must be in compliance with MLCC licensing and regulations.
  • The use of outdoor heating elements must be in compliance with the Fire Code and any other applicable codes.
  • The modified site plan reverts to the current approved or modified site plan unless otherwise approved by City Council upon the expiration of Policy Resolution 2023-04 on November 15, 2023.
  • The application for a modified site plan pursuant to this resolution must be in compliance with the City Code.
  • The $250 Site Plan modification application fee shall be temporarily waived until November 15, 2023 or until such time that Council determine it is appropriate to reinstate fees for such purposes.
  • Approval of a temporary expansion of outdoor seating area may be revoked at any time for violations of City Code.

How to apply? 

  • Review Policy Resolution 2023-4
  • Complete the  2023 Temporary Outdoor Dining Area Expansion Application
  • Planning and Zoning staff will review your application upon submission. Staff will contact you regarding any clarification or additional information that is needed.
  • The Planning and Zoning Official will issue a formal approval or denial letter, including any applicable conditions of approval that you must comply with.
  • Once approval has been obtained from the Planning and Zoning Official, you may begin operating in your new or expanded outdoor dining area per the conditions of approval and the information provided in your application.
  • New or expanded outdoor dining areas must be closed by November 15, 2023.

View an example of the electronic application (PDF). Please note, not all sections or questions are applicable to all restaurants. 

Need Assistance?

Please contact Community and Economic Development Specialist Matt Apostle for assistance at business.support@cityofeastlansing.com.