Planning a Special Event
The City of Imperial Beach Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department (PRCS) Special Events Team strives in helping events that bring the community together to take place safely and successfully on its streets and in its parks. This team processes applications for review by the appropriate City Departments and assists event organizers through the permitting process for events that happen within the City of Imperial Beach.
A Special Event is any organized event including, but not limited to, large scale events such as races, parades, marathons and sporting events, concerts, fairs, community events, and any organized assembly of twenty-five (25) or more people on any public space, waterway, property, structure, or public right of way, owned or controlled by the City of Imperial Beach. Private events that impede on the public right of way may also require a permit.
Frequently Asked Questions
If an event is on private property what type of permit do I need?
A special event permit is not required for events that take place on private property. Depending on the nature of the event, various permits may be required including the following:
- The Community Development Department may have requirements, please contact them at (619) 628-0858.
- If you will have food sales please contact the San Diego County Health Department.
- If the food vendor is using open flame or cooking equipment, please contact Imperial Beach Fire-Rescue at (619) 628-1392.
- If you will have tents or canopies, please contact Imperial Beach Fire-Rescue at (619) 628-1392.
- If you are using amplified sound you must adhere to the City’s noise ordinance regarding hours of amplified sound and sound decibel limitations.
What kind of events require a special event permit?
Events that are open to the general public and take place within the public right-of-way or are located within a park or on the beach would be coordinated through the special event permit process. Typically, these events require permits, licenses and approvals from several City departments depending on the size and nature of the special event.
How do I get a permit to hold a special event in Imperial Beach?
To initiate the special event permitting process, please contact the Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department. Please note the acceptance of your application should in no way be construed as final approval of your event. The City of Imperial Beach requires a complete event application be submitted at least 90 days in advance of the proposed event date. We encourage applicants to submit their application 6 to 9 months in advance to ensure a complete application is submitted by the deadline and ready to take to the City Council for approval at least 60 days prior to the event.
What happens after I submit my application?
Once your application has been received you will be contacted to request any additional forms, permits and licenses that may be required. Copies of the application will be distributed to all city departments for review. A coordinating meeting may be held to clarify questions and ensure you are meeting all of the requirements of the special event permitting process.
Is insurance required for a special event?
Yes. A certificate of general liability and additional insured Form CG2026 is required to hold event on City property. All vendors who participate in the event will need to be covered under the insurance and they must all obtain a business license or vendor fees will apply for a one day license.
How do I get a beach wedding or park wedding permit?
You will need to visit the Park and Beach Reservation section to obtain a permit.
What kind of permit do I need for a private event with an air jump?
A park use permit is required for air jumps and large tents, parties with commercial food carts/trucks, parties with other service vendors, or groups of 25 people or more.
What kind of permit do I need for a birthday party or other type of private gathering?
A park use permit is required for groups of 25 people or more, or if you will be utilizing any services vendors such as air jumps, food carts/trucks, etc., or if you will have a large structure such as a tent.
Do I need a permit to do film or commercial photo shoot in Imperial Beach?
Personal filming or photography, including students for class projects, do not require a commercial film permit, however professional photographers and videographers are required to have a business license and obtain a permit.
What kind of permit do I need for a neighborhood block party?
Neighborhood block parties require a block party permit from the Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department. If the block party is being advertised and open to the public, you will require a special events permit.
No alcohol is allowed in the public right-of-way at any time.
Does the City Council approve permit applications?
The Imperial Beach City Council approves special event permit applications for any event Tier 3 events. Tier 3 includes events held in Pier Plaza, Dunes Park, on the beach, and on the road causing closures and/or traffic management. Applicants may apply to host four (4) special events per year, but are restricted to one permit per year in Pier Plaza, and one permit per year in Dunes Park.
Special Event Permit
Events that are open to the general public and take place within the public right-of-way or are located within a park or the beach would be coordinated through the special event permit process. Typically, these events require permits, licenses and approvals from several City departments depending on the size and nature of the special event. Special events include, but are not limited to:
- Concerts, Fund-raising events, Running/Walking events
- Parades, Bicycle races, Car Shows
- Fairs, Promotional events, Community Oriented Events
- Festivals, Ceremonial, Programs
Neighborhood Block Party Permit
Neighborhood block parties require a block party permit and permission from all neighbors within the requested block to be closed. If the block party is being advertised and is open to the public, you will require a special event permit.
Commercial Filming and Photography Permit
Any commercial filming or photography will need a filming & photography permit.
A park use permit is required for gatherings of 25 or more people or a gathering of any size with any vendor services (air jumps, food catering, large tents, Etc).
Gatherings of less than 25 people with NO vendor services (air jumps, food catering, large tents, Etc) can use unreserved open grass spaces, and picnic table areas on a first come, first served basis.
Before we can approve a special event, there are a few steps to complete. The most important step is knowing the deadline to submit a completed application.
Special Event Permit Application Deadline
The special event permit application must be submitted no earlier than twelve months, and no later than 90 days, before the desired event date(s). However, submitting a permit application does not guarantee your date(s) or location. All completed applications are taken to the City Council for approval no less than 60 days prior to the event. In order to have adequate time for an application to be reviewed by the departments and collect any additional details, we will not accept any applications less than 90 days prior to an event. All permit applications when submitted must include a layout map.
Neighborhood Block Party Permit Application Deadline
Block parties will need to obtain signatures from all neighbors with their application so it's good to get started early! A block party application along with the completed neighbor authorization form will need to be submitted at least 30 days prior to the event to give staff adequate time to review.
Commercial Filming & Photography Permit Application Deadline
Depending on the size and scope of a commercial filming or photography project, applications need to be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the scheduled project. If you will have a large-scale project, in order to accommodate the request, we ask for as much notice as possible. No requests will be processed less than 3 days prior to a project and an application does not guarantee approval.
Park Reservation Permit Application Deadline
Park reservation applications for gatherings of 25 or more people or any size gathering with a vendor service (air jump, food catering, large tent, Etc) must submit a complete application at least 10 business days prior to the requested reservation date.
The City Council adopted the Imperial Beach Special Event Policies and Procedures to ensure safe, equitable, and inclusive events in the community. It is the responsibility of the applicant to review the policies and procedures to ensure compliance for the duration of a permitted event.
Tier I Event
|An event with minimal setup and requires a beach ceremony permit; or park permit; or sports field event permit
Examples: Wedding, Birthday Party, Sports Clinic
Tier II Event
|An event that requires a neighborhood block party permit; or farmers market permit; or commercial filming permit; or special event permit; or is located at Veterans Park; or Sports Park; or Reama Park; or Teeple Park
Examples: Neighborhood Block Party, Farmers Market, Professional Photo Shoot or Filming
Tier III Event
|An event that requires a special event permit; and is located at Pier Plaza; or Dunes Park; or the beach; or includes street closures
Examples: Festival, Running/Walking/Biking event, Concert