Streamlining the Permitting Process for Community Events
SF Beautiful is working to streamline and simplify the permitting process for community groups that want to host events on public land. Currently, a street event application needs to be filed through the Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation (ISCOTT), a board with representatives from the MTA, DPW, SFPD, SFFD, the Public Health Dept., and the Port of San Francisco.
SFB has developed an index to guide community groups through this complex process. This guide provides an overview of their responsibilities, links to all relevant permit applications and fee structures, and contact information for fielding questions. Now that we’ve completed this guide, we will continue working with the city to streamline the street event permitting process to ensure that our streets can be easily utilized for community activation.
SF Street Event Permitting: A Walkthrough
In our recent general survey, one of the key priorities identified by our respondents was the cost and complexity of the permitting process for street events and block parties.
San Francisco Beautiful decided that the first step towards streamlining this process would be to create a single Walkthrough Guide to help neighborhood groups through the application process and give them a single place to find all the potential permits and contacts necessary for the application process.
Anytime a person or organization would like to close a street or streets in San Francisco for a neighborhood block party, street fair, athletic event, etc., they must apply to the Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation (ISCOTT), through the offices of the Division of Sustainable Streets in the SF Municipal Transportation Authority. The ISCOTT board is comprised of representatives from the MTA, DPW, SFPD, SFFD, the Public Health Dept., the Entertainment Commission, the Planning Dept., and the Port of San Francisco. At the meeting, each department will evaluate the proposed street event, determine its likely impacts on their departmental responsibilities, propose potential measures or conditions to make the event acceptable, and then approve, disapprove, or postpone the item to let the applicant amend their proposal.
If the request is approved by ISCOTT, then additional permit applications may need to be filed with the SFFD, DPW, the Entertainment Commission, and the Dept. of Public Health, depending upon the scope of the event. Once approved, you will be informed of any additional permits required.
***To prepare your application documents we highly recommend that you contact Cindy Shamban, the contact for all Temporary Street Closure permits, at 415-701-4683 or emailed to Cindy.Shamban@sfmta.com. Cindy is the first person one should talk to if you are planning any kind of street event. Depending on the specificities of your event, different documentation and information may be required. We have tried to provide a strong general outline for the process, but this will not cover all permits and requirements, and should not substitute for calling and confirming your requirements with Cindy before submitting your application.
Potential Auxiliary Permits
Food and Alcohol
If your event will include the cooking or vending of food, or the sale of alcohol, additional fees and permits may be required. For small events, the simplest way to provide food at an event is through a potluck.
However, if there will be cooking or vending of food at your event, it may potentially require permits from the Department of Public Health and the SF Fire Department