The Ins and Outs of City Permits

Planning an event at a venue, like a park, on the City of San Diego property? My recommendation is to start reviewing requirements and applications early on in the event planning process, as there are a lot of specifications, restrictions, and approvals needed in order to move forward with your event. Start by filling out the Park Special Event Permit Application first, as you will need to obtain a Reservation of Space. This is also needed in order to complete the City of San Diego Special Event Permit Application, which will take the bulk of your time and needs all of your event details. By starting the process to both of these early, you will likely obtain your point of contact for each application and they can help answer questions and guide you along the way. It is also recommended to start the Health Permit Application early to obtain a point of contact for the Health Department as well. For our event, the requirements for the Health Department were not so black-and-white and it helped to have the contact established to help us determine what was needed or required before it was too late.

You may be thinking you won’t have all of your vendors and event details in place that early on in the process, but just start anyway and you can always update the applications later. By filling it out, it helps you to think through some of the details you may not have gotten to yet and can actually help you move your planning along. Plus if you have questions, you now have the appropriate contacts to ask. Additionally, make sure to have all of the application/permit/staffing fees in your budget and it is also recommended to add in a buffer for unexpected costs or fees, as requirements can also shift from year to year. For example, organics recycling was not a requirement this year, however, it will be a requirement starting next year. By starting early and having a buffer in your budget, this will set you up for a successful event with the City of San Diego!