Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
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What We Do

Public Way Use

If your business has a sign, canopy, awning, bench, or anything that extends over, under or is on the public way, it requires a Public Way Use Permit (Grants of Privilege) issued by  the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP). The process to obtain the permit requires City Council approval.  There are many different types of public way uses including Sidewalk Cafés.

In addition to a public way use permit, all business identifiers such as signs, awnings, canopies and banners are required to have a Department of Buildings sign construction permit. Only a licensed sign contractor may apply to obtain a sign construction permit. Please see the list of approved contractors.

You may apply for both permits at the same time at BACP.

You can apply in person at the BACP Business Assistance Center  located in City Hall,  121 N. LaSalle St.,  room 800.  Office hours,  are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  You can request an appointment with a business consultant here.   Application forms are avialable and listed under "Supporting Information" on this page, see below.  

For temporary use of the public way due to construction, applicants must obtain a Construction Canopy Permit from the Chicago Department of Transportation. Information about this permitting process is available here.

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BACP relies on feedback from our customers to improve services. We take customer satisfaction seriously and measure our performance based on your input. Click the button above or the link below to provide feedback on your interaction with BACP. The survey will take no more than two minutes to complete.

Public Way Use Applications / Documents

Department Main Office

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

  • Phone: 312.744.6060
    Toll Free:
    TTY: 312.744.1944
    Fax: 312.744.0246
  • 121 N. LaSalle Street
    8th Floor
    Chicago, IL 60602   
    Get Directions