PARK EVENT PERMIT PLANNING GUIDE
Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 6.46 provides the framework and guidance for the issuance of Permits for Park Events within the City of Berkeley. In general, no person shall conduct any park event without first obtaining a permit. The following pages include the City’s application for a Park Event Permit and accompanying instructions developed to guide you through the process.
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Park Event – includes any demonstration, assembly, festival, fair, concert or any other gathering of 50 or more persons over the age of 12 years at the same time and for the same collective purpose within an area circumscribed by a 500 foot radius in any park other than Cesar Chavez Park or Civic Center Park. In Cesar Chavez Park, Civic Center Park or any other park or part thereof which is regularly used for organized sporting events, “park event” shall mean any demonstration, assembly, festival, fair, concert or any other gathering of 100 or more persons over the age of 12 years at the same time and for the same collective purpose within an area circumscribed by a 500 foot radius.
Major Park Event – means park events which:
- Involve pyrotechnics or other hazardous activities;
- Require the closure or partial closure of an arterial or collector street as defined in the City of Berkeley General Plan or the re-routing of public transportation;
- Involve a planned or likely attendance of more than 150 persons;
- Require alcohol or amplified sound permits; or
- For which admission will be charged.
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In all cases, official sponsorship or co-sponsorship by the City of Berkeley requires City Council approval as a distinct action. This is done by formal adoption of a Council resolution. When City sponsorship is authorized, the event organizer may then use the City’s name and logo in the event literature, promotional materials, and any signage. Co-sponsorship does not mean the City assumes any liability for the event, and it also does not mean City services will be made available to the event upon request. Co-sponsorship simply means the City is lending its name and logo to the event. Likewise, Council approval of cash grants and/or other City support does not automatically constitute the City’s agreement to be a co-sponsor.
To obtain official City sponsorship or co-sponsorship, contact the office of your local councilmember. The councilmember will submit a recommendation to the full Council for consideration.
Where to File Application
Department of Parks, Recreation & Waterfront
1947 Center Street, 1st Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
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The City strives to keep fees as low as possible by charging only for the cost of processing the application and provision of City services. In addition to the cost of inspections and other City services, other fees such as a sound permit fee will apply for the use of sound amplification equipment, etc. Depending upon the type of event, respective fees may vary. If paying by check or money order, please prepare separate checks or money orders for the permit fee and the maintenance deposit. Both checks should be made payable to the City of Berkeley.
Parks & Open Spaces
For Aquatic, Cedar-Rose, Cesar Chavez, James Kenney, Live Oak, Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center, and Willard Parks, the fee is $160 per day plus a separate check in the amount of $250 for the refundable maintenance deposit.
For all other parks, the fee is $76 per day plus a separate check in the amount of $200 for the refundable maintenance deposit.
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A completed application packet for park events may be filed as early as six months before the proposed event, but must be received at least five business days prior to the proposed event. Applications for major park events must be received at least ten business days prior to the proposed event (20 business days if alcohol is involved).
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The permit application process begins when you submit a completed Park Event Permit application. The application will only be deemed complete if accompanied by the full application fee. Keep in mind that acceptance of your application should in no way be construed as approval or confirmation of your request.
Upon receipt of your application, the City’s Park Event Coordinator will distribute copies of your application to all City departments affected by your application for their review. During the review process you will be notified if your event application requires additional information, permits, or licenses. You will be allowed time to provide the requested information. Delays in providing these items often delay our ability to finish our review, and issue a Park Event Permit for your event.
The affected departments may contact you individually if they have specific questions or concerns about your event. Depending on the impact on City services, size and type of event, a meeting with all affected departments, the Park Event Coordinator, and you may be scheduled to clarify questions and concerns.
During the permit process, the City shall determine its capabilities to provide the necessary City services. No group shall conduct any activities requiring City services in excess of those agreed upon.
Any application received after the established deadline is a late application. The City Manager or his designated representative shall not accept late applications unless he/she finds that:
- The proposed event is in response to an occurrence whose timing did not reasonably allow the applicant to file a timely application; and
- The imposition of the time limitations would place an unreasonable restriction to free speech rights of the applicant.
When the City Manager finds both of the above conditions to exist, he/she shall grant the application, unless it does not meet the criteria set forth in BMC Chapter 6.46 or there is insufficient time for the City to make necessary preparations for traffic control or other public safety matters prior to the proposed date.
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Cancellation and Revocation of Permits
If an event organizer is unable to hold or conduct the proposed event because of inclement weather or due to some other cause not within the event organizer’s control, and the event organizer submits written request for the refund of such fees to the Office of the City Manager within ten days after the date that the event was to have been held or conducted, the City Manager may authorize the refund of any fees that are not necessary to reimburse the City’s expenses of preparation for the event, except for non-refundable application fees, if any.
The City Manager may revoke a permit at any time, if he/she determines that as a result of inclement weather, conduct of an event would unreasonably damage the park for which it is proposed.
The City Manager may revoke a permit at any time, if he/she determines that any provision of BMC Chapter 6.46 or any condition of the permit has not been met or is being violated, or if a person responsible for the promotion or conduct of the event was not shown on the application.
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Any violation of the conditions or rules set forth in the issuance of a permit for the proposed event may result in the cancellation of the event, and may result in depriving the group involved of further use of a facility and/or denial of permit requests.
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Event organizers should be aware of their responsibility to ensure that their events are accessible to members of the public with disabilities pursuant to applicable provisions contained in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related non-discrimination laws. The City will work collaboratively with event organizers, as resources permit, to ensure maximum feasible accessibility.
Event organizers shall provide and follow a written traffic and pedestrian circulation plan for maintaining accessibility for persons with disabilities. The plan shall include information, as appropriate to the event, regarding:
- Accessible parking,
- Pedestrian routes, showing unobstructed sidewalks and curb ramps, paths of travel around equipment and booths,
- Shuttle vehicles, and
- Event facilities such as seating, sales counters, and information booths.
Events shall be held at accessible facilities as defined by the ADA Accessibility Guidelines and/or Title 24 of the California building code. If the facility provides off-street parking for the public, then disabled parking shall be provided. The facility shall have at least one wheelchair accessible entrance. An uninterrupted path of travel shall be provided for mobility device users from off-street parking and public sidewalks to the accessible entrance(s). Wheelchair accessible restrooms shall be provided. If drinking fountains and pay telephones are provided, then accessible drinking fountains and pay telephones shall be provided. An accessible path of travel shall connect the accessible entrance, event venue(s), and accessible restrooms, drinking fountains and pay telephones. Signs shall be provided directing persons to wheelchair accessible features if not all features of the facility are accessible, including entrances, restrooms, drinking fountains, and pay telephones. Where events take place on sidewalks or parks and adjoining streets, temporary accessible ramps shall be provided between the sidewalk or park and the street at appropriate mid-block locations.
Monitoring and Assisting with Access
Event organizers shall:
- Ensure that event staff and vendors are provided information about accessibility, availability of accommodations, and how to operate access equipment;
- Where the public is invited into booths, booths shall be set-up to allow internal accessibility; and
- As needed, provide monitors for crowd control and to maintain accessible entries, routes and seating according to an approved circulation plan.
In conformance with federal and state accessibility regulations, all stages shall be made accessible to persons with disabilities.
In any assembly area with fixed seating, space for wheelchair users shall be provided according to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. These Guidelines require that space for one wheelchair be provided in assembly areas with 4-25 fixed seats; space for 2 wheelchairs for areas with 26-50 seats; space for 4 wheelchairs in areas with 51-300 seats; space for 6 wheelchairs in areas with 301-500 seats; and, in spaces with over 500 fixed seats, space for 6 wheelchairs plus 1 additional space for each total seating capacity increase of 100. At least one companion fixed seat shall be provided next to each wheelchair-designated seat. When the seating capacity exceeds 300, wheelchair spaces shall be provided in more than one location and so that a variety of sight lines within the seating area are provided.
Event organizers shall submit to the City and implement a plan for alternative communication, including arrangements for auxiliary aids and services as needed for effective communication at the event. The plan should provide for auxiliary aids and services such as large print materials, sign language interpreters, assistive listening systems, TDD (text telephone), and if requested, Braille, written transcripts, or other appropriate aids and services.
All advertisements, flyers and announcements about the proposed event shall include a phone, and/or TTY number of the event organizer, which a member of the public can call when requesting accommodations, with the following language:
“To request disability accommodations, please call * (voice), or * (TTY).
At least one week’s notice will ensure availability”.
In addition, all advertisements, flyers and announcements should include:
- Information about accommodations that will be available at the event, particularly the times sign-language interpreters may be scheduled for the event; and
- Information that parking in the area of the event is limited and encouraging attendees to take public transportation, as well as the relevant public transit information.
Accessibility information concerning a proposed event shall include: The International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) and a statement that the meeting or event is “accessible to persons with disabilities”.
Event organizers shall provide the information in (a) and (b), as soon as confirmed, to the City’s Disability Compliance Program for posting to local disability-related organizations.
Events may not require any surcharge from persons with disabilities for provision of accessibility features and/or an individual disability-related accommodation.
For additional information about ADA physical and program access requirements, please contact the Disability Compliance Program at (510) 981-6342.
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CONDITIONS FOR USE OF PARKS
The event organizer hereby agrees to abide by the following conditions during the entire event as follows:
- Provide the name and phone number of the person responsible for operations during the proposed event. This person shall be available throughout all hours the event is open to the public.
- Carry the approved permit during the park event and shall show it, upon demand, to any City employee.
- May not limit the free distribution of literature at the park event by members of the public who have no formal or direct relationship with the event sponsor with respect to the presentation of the park event.
- Agrees that, during the use of City of Berkeley public park, the proposed park event will not exclude any qualified person from participation in, deny anyone the benefits of, or otherwise subject anyone to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, age, handicap, or sexual orientation.
- All paths of travel serving wheelchair users or others with mobility impairments must be kept clear of obstacles. Event sponsors must ensure that paths of travel are monitored during events to prevent obstructions. Appropriate signage should be posted at each wheelchair ramp to identify the ramp as such.
- as a condition for entrance to a park event is prohibited.
- Solicitation of money in any manner without permission is prohibited. This includes the sale and/or peddling of any foods, refreshments, novelties or goods.
- Painting upon any pathway or sidewalk surface is prohibited unless a washable paint is used and removal is accomplished before the event closes.
- No object of any nature shall be fastened to or erected over the surface of the park or pathways, and no object shall be affixed to any pole in the park, without prior written consent of the Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront.
- Parks in which events occur shall remain open to the public during the event, to the extent consistent with the park’s capacity and to the maximum extent feasible given the nature of the event. No park shall be closed to the public during an event absent express permission from the Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront.
- The park event will not interfere with fire or police protection, or public safety, including presenting a substantial or unwarranted traffic or safety hazard.
- All park events shall end no later than 10:00 p.m.
- organizer may be required to obtain permits from the Berkeley Fire Department, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Public Works and/or Office of Transportation.
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Please provide a description of your parking plans (i.e., where event attendees will park) including your plan for disabled parking; your plan for emergency vehicle access; and your plan to encourage the public about the use of public transportation.
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Event organizers are ultimately responsible for the safety and welfare of those attending their event. This includes providing for security needs. Because every event is unique, a standardized set number of security personnel would offer a false sense of safety. Therefore, for special events in the City of Berkeley, there is no set ratio of the number of security personnel necessary for special events. The number of security personnel required will be determined by the event coordinator and the Berkeley Police Department using risk assessment that takes into account the type of event, location, duration, time, potential for danger, history, type of entertainment, whether or not alcohol is being served, any specific information or intelligence received regarding the event, as well as many other factors. It will remain fully within the rights of the Chief of Police or his designee to dictate a different ratio than that suggested by the event organizer based on the Police Department's own risk assessment.
Event organizers must always designate one person to be responsible for security. This person will need to interface with the Police Department, and provide necessary information as requested, including contact information. Additionally, this person must be reachable by law enforcement at the event on the day of the event.
Failure to adequately provide for security needs may lead to future denial or revocation of the permit.
City of Berkeley Police Services
If public safety impacts are found, off-duty police officers or reserve personnel may be assigned upon the discretion of the Chief of Police or his official designee to monitor such activities and the event organizer will be assessed the cost of such officers.
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The following are minimum standards for the provision of first aid at park events. Based upon factors such as geographic locations, weather conditions, and event history, the Berkeley Fire Department may determine that additional measures are required.
Level 1 – Under 200 persons
- No requirement, it is recommended that a first aid kit and trained person be available.
Level 2 – 200 to 4,999 persons
- First aid stations, staffed by one person certified in first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Certification of staff must be done by an entity recognized by the Berkeley Fire Department.
- Staffing must occur from 30 minute prior to the event and continue until 30 minutes past the event. It is recommended that the first aid station be open when the event set up begins, and remain open during breakdowns. The first aid station must be staffed at all times; organizers should make provisions for staffing if meal breaks, etc. are needed.
- The first aid station must be marked by a sign no less than 24” tall and 48” long. The sign should have a large red cross and the words “First Aid”. Lettering should be no less than 18” tall. Lettering should be red in color.
- Access to a telephone is required. A phone must be within 50’ of the first aid station, or if a telephone is not within 50’, a cellular phone is required.
- Staff must be distinguished from the crowd by wearing either an armband or T-shirt.
Level 3 – 5,000 to 14,999 persons
- The same requirements as Level 2 plus one additional first aid staff person on duty at all times.
Level 4 – Over 15,000 persons
- The same requirements as Level 2 and Level 3, with the addition of two first aid staff persons. Depending upon the geographic location of the event, the Berkeley Fire Department may determine that a second first aid station may be required.
- The event organizer will hire two uniformed firefighters. The uniformed firefighters will act as liaisons with the first aid station staff, perform on-site first aid, and perform on-site fire safety inspections.
Required First Aid Station Supplies
- Five gallons of potable water with cups.
- At least one cot or similar device to provide a place for a person to lie down in a supine position.
- An overhead covering to provide an area out of the weather.
- At least one blanket and pillow.
- First aid kit that includes basic bandages such as band-aids, roller gauze, sterile gauze pads and ice or cold packs.
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Portable Toilets & Handwashing Sinks
If food and/or beverages are to be served or sold for consumption during the proposed park event, event organizers must make provision for temporary or portable toilets and handwashing sinks. For portable toilets, the number required is 1/8 of 1% of the number of attendees. For handwashing sinks, the number required is one unit for every four toilets. Such temporary or portable toilets and handwashing sinks must be removed from the event site within 24 hours after the event for which the permit was granted.
At least 10%, with a minimum of one at the event site, of the total number of temporary or portable toilets should be accessible to persons with disabilities. Each of the accessible toilets must have a sign on them that reads: “Priority is to be given to individuals with disabilities in the use of this accessible facility.”
Example: 10,000 attendees so divide by 8 (this is the 1/8 number) and you get 1250. Drop the two rightmost numbers (50 in this example) and the answer is 12 portable toilets are required. Since 12 portable toilets will be provided, two must be accessible to persons with disabilities. In addition, three handwashing sinks are required.
If restroom facilities in the immediate area of the event site are to be used by attendees during the proposed event, please provide signage as to their location and availability (including ADA accessible and non-ADA accessible facilities).
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Recycling and Waste Management Plan
If your proposed park event will produce trash or recyclables, you must submit a plan describing your actions for the clean up and removal of garbage and recyclables during and after your park event. Your plan should identify the person responsible for recycling and waste management during and after the park event, and the person responsible for the return of any City containers used for the park event. For assistance in planning for your garbage and recycling needs, contact the Solid Waste Management Division at (510) 981-7270.
Any event organizer wishing to employ the use of amplified sound during their proposed park event must apply to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Environmental Health for a one-time permit for that park event. The only sounds permitted shall be either music or human speech, or both.
The sound amplification equipment cannot be utilized in any location for a period in excess of four hours in any twenty-four hour period. Sound amplifying equipment can only be upon public property between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., and upon private property only between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
Speakers for sound amplification equipment should be directed, to the extent feasible, toward open or unoccupied space and away from residentially occupied property. The volume of sound should be so controlled that it will not be unreasonably loud, raucous, jarring, disturbing or a nuisance to reasonable persons of normal sensitiveness with the area of audibility.
The application with the current permit fee must be filed no less than ten business days prior to the date of the proposed park event. If the event organizer is seeking a Noise Variance, the application with the current permit fee must be filed no less than thirty business days prior to the date of the proposed park event. For additional information, please contact the Division of Environmental Health at (510) 981-5310.
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Temporary Food Sales
Any event organizer wishing to sell or give away food to the public during their proposed park event must apply to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Environmental Health for a one-time permit for that park event. The permit to operate must be posted for the duration of the proposed park event.
The Division of Environmental Health does not require individual permits for each temporary food booth in conjunction with a single event. However, a specific individual must be designated by the event organizer to be responsible for distribution of the applicable requirements to each food vendor, and for achieving and monitoring compliance by each food vendor. The name, address and telephone number of the designated temporary food facilities coordinator must be on file with the Division of Environmental Health.
The application for the permit to operate and completed food sales information (filled out and signed by each food vendor) with the current permit fee must be filed no less than ten business days prior to the date of the proposed park event. For additional information, please contact the Division of Environmental Health at (510) 981-5310.
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Any event organizer wishing to have alcoholic beverages sold or consumed during the proposed park event must obtain a Bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) permit appropriate to their event after receiving an approval letter from the Chief of Police. The event organizer should request an approval letter at least thirty days prior to the proposed park event. The event sponsor is responsible for complying with all state laws and ABC regulations regarding the sales and service of alcoholic beverages.
The Chief of Police has determined that event staff must control alcohol service and consumption. At a minimum, there should be a ‘beer/wine garden’ style service including:
- The point of sale and consumption must be within a confined service area with an identified entrance/exit and barriers, low fencing, chains and stanchions, or similar materials that will serve to define the area and restrict access.
- The service area may include tables and chairs.
- Underage persons may be present in the service area if accompanied by a responsible adult.
- All persons purchasing and consuming alcohol must be over age 21.
- No alcohol may be taken outside the service area.
- There shall be no excessive alcohol consumption or service to those who are clearly intoxicated.
- Event staffing shall be sufficient to ensure compliance with these rules.
Events may have more than one beer/wine garden upon approval of the Chief of Police or his official designee. Beer, wine, and champagne only may be served in the beer/wine garden(s). Other alcoholic beverages, and tobacco use shall not be permitted.
Events selling or furnishing alcohol may be required to staff the event with an appropriate number of Berkeley Police Officers paid for by the event organizer, and conform with the City’s alcohol guidelines. The number of officers required will depend on the geographic size of the event, the expected number of attendees, all activities associated with the event and any past history of problems with this or similar events. For additional information, please contact the Berkeley Police Department at (510) 981-5800.
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General Liability Insurance
Event organizers are required to show proof of general liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 for the proposed park event by submitting an original Certificate of Insurance naming the City of Berkeley, its officers, employees, agents, and volunteers as additional insured to the City’s Park Events Coordinator. The City’s Risk Manager, prior to authorization of the permit, must approve the original Certificate of Insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 showing that general liability insurance coverage is in force for the duration of the proposed park event.
Event organizer can purchase liability insurance coverage, based on the hazard class, from the City of Berkeley by contacting the City’s Park Events Coordinator.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If the event organizer has employees, the event organizer shall maintain in force, during the full term of the permit, Workers’ Compensation Insurance with Employer’s Liability not less than $1,000,000 each accident.
No event organizer shall be required to comply with this insurance requirement if the proposed park event is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the event organizer provides evidence that complying with the insurance provision is impossible or so financially burdensome that it would preclude the proposed park event from occurring.
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Documents Required to be Submitted
In addition to the completed application form, event organizers are required to submit the following documents.
Please attach an accurate drawing to scale on letter size paper showing dimensions booths and any other objects to be placed in the park, and also indicate the following:
- Number and location of food and/or beverage booths
- Number, location, and type of recycling and refuse containers
- Portable toilets & sinks, including those which are ADA compliant
- Stages with ramps, tents, and any other objects
- Emergency access plan
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Please provide the following information:
- Proof that adjacent property owners were notified of the event
- Proof that adjacent property owners granted permission for event attendees to park on the adjacent property proposed for parking
- Adequate disabled parking
- Adequate publicity and signage to direct event attendees to available parking
- Other efforts to provide shuttle services to and from the event site, and/or to provide information on alternative transportation such as walking, bicycling, carpooling, BART, and AC Transit
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Please describe your plans for the provision of crowd control monitors. Crowd control monitors must wear armbands and/or such other identification to prominently identify them as monitors, and have a method of communicating, such as a cell phone, with the Berkeley Police Department
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The City of Berkeley requires the event organizer to have a business license. Please contact the Finance Customer Service Center at (510) 981-7200 for the appropriate form(s).
In addition, the City requires each food and beverage vendor to have a Health Permit. For information, contact the City’s Environmental Health Division at (510) 981-5310.
Further, the State of California requires each vendor to have a Seller’s Permit to sell merchandise. If a vendor does not have this license, please contact the State Board of Equalization at (510) 622-4100 for the appropriate form(s).
For each merchandise vendor, please include the following information:
- Name of Vendor
- Address & Telephone number
- Type of merchandise to be sold
Recycling and Waste Management Plan
Please describe your plans for the clean up and removal of garbage and recyclables during and after your park event. Your site plan should show the location of the garbage and recycling containers, and identify the person responsible for recycling and waste management during and after the park event, and the person responsible for the return of any City containers used for the park event.
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Waste Water & Liquids Plan
Please describe how the waste water (soapy water, rinse water, cooking oils, syrups, etc.) will be kept out of the storm drains.
Please provide proof of general liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 for the proposed park event by submitting an insurance certificate naming the City of Berkeley, its officers, employees, agents, and volunteers as additional insured. The insurance certificate shall be endorsed to include the following:
- A thirty day notice of cancellation;
- State that coverage afforded on behalf of the City shall be primary insurance and any other insurance available to the City under any other policies or insurance programs shall be in excess of the insurance required hereby; and
- Limits of Liability: insurance limits to be established by the City’s Risk Manager, depending upon the nature of the park event.
NOTE: Failure to fully complete this application and to provide the required documents may result in denial of this request. Be sure to return the signature page, signed and dated.
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DEPARTMENT CONTACT INFORMATION
There may be costs associated with your proposed park or street event. Below are telephone numbers that may be of help to you in getting information and determining costs.
Finance (510) 981-7200
Fire (510) 981-5585
Emergency vehicle access lane; tents, structures or entertainment devices; use of pyrotechnics or other hazardous activities; and first aid plan
DHS-Environmental Health Division (510) 981-5310
Amplified sound, temporary food & beverage facilities, and portable toilets & handwashing sinks
DHS – Office of the Director (510) 981-5110
Permit application process, and insurance coverage
Parks, Recreation & Waterfront (510) 981-5150
Time and manner for use of a park facility
Police (510) 981-5800
Security plan, alcoholic beverage requests, and beer gardens
PW-Disability Compliance (510) 981-6342
PW-Transportation (510) 981-7010
Street closures, traffic detour plan, traffic control devices, parking requests and blue zones
PW-Solid Waste Management (510) 981-7270
Trash & recycling services
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