Public Space Committee


The Public Space Committee makes final determinations on applications for various uses of public space and areas within building restriction lines. The Committee is responsible for assuring that the temporary and permanent uses of public space for public and private purposes are consistent with the laws and policies of the District. It operates under a Mayoral Order that authorizes the Committee to make final determinations on the approval or denial of most applications for the temporary use of public space. (Public Realm Design Manual, § 1.3: The Public Space Committee).

The Committee shall determine whether or not what is being requested will adversely affect the interest of the public or violate any of the following criteria:

  • The proposed additional use will not endanger the public; 
  • The proposed additional use will not substantially interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic; and, 
  • The proposed additional use will not increase the area of public space that the applicant for the permit is authorized to use by other law or regulation. (DCMR 12-100.1)

Procedures & Services

The Committee is made up of five members representing four District agencies:

  1. Planning, Policy, and Sustainability Administration (DDOT), Chair; 
  2. Transportation Operations Administration (DDOT); 
  3. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs; 
  4. Office of Planning; and, 
  5. Secretary of the District of Columbia.

DCMR Title 24: Public Space and Safety and DCMR Title 12: Building Code identify specific public space applications that must go before the Committee, as well as the criteria for review. Common public space applications that go before the Public Space Committee include, but are not limited to:

  • Fences and retaining walls of greater height than is allowed by regulation
  • Street furniture, like flag poles and benches
  • Statues and public art
  • Sidewalk cafes
  • Curb cuts
  • Security elements, like guard booths and bollards
  • Unusual projections
  • Signs for non-profit institutions
  • Non-standard light fixtures
  • Church bulletins

The Public Space Committee meets the 4th Thursday of every month.

For additional information about the Public Space Committee, or to electronically receive Public Space Committee informational notices, send requests to:

See Related

Additional Information

Legal References

Design Standards & Specifications

Transportation Plans & Studies

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Other Resources

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