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Requirements

If you are thinking about having a special event or producing a film in Tacoma, it's a good idea to start with finding out what you are responsible for, and what services the City provides. Read this section before filling out your application to help make the process run smoothly.

Terms and Conditions of Special Event Permits

Application Submission Does Not Guarantee Permit Issuance
By submitting your application you accept the established process of the City of Tacoma Special Events Office and understand that the final issuance of a permit is not guaranteed by application submission, insurance provision or payment of the application processing fee. An internal department and external agency review team will assess the application, make recommendations and approvals, and may, if deemed appropriate, withdraw an application from processing for lack of information, conflict of interest or conflict with other established events.

Minimum Requirements for Special Event or Master Film permits include providing general liability insurance, adherence to the City's noise abatement laws, following standard pedestrian and traffic laws, and assurance of the safety of participants, attendees and the general public.


Insurance Requirements

Generally speaking and with some exceptions, the event organizer must possess or obtain comprehensive general liability insurance naming the City as additional insured and in a combined single limit of at least $1,000,000 and submitted to the Special Event Office at least 30 days prior to the event. Sample certificate of insurance.

Noise Abatement Program
The City has restrictions on noise, and questions about whether or not your event will need to comply should be directed to Craig Kuntz, Planning & Development Services Building Inspector. ckuntz@cityoftacoma.org, 253-594-7820.

Applicants and organizers must be certain that all event activities comply with the local laws applicable to noise abatement. Please be advised that loud and unreasonable noise (including music) is a violation of Chapter 8.12.060 of the Tacoma Municipal Code. A police officer may determine that noise during your event is offensive to others and may require you to stop the noise. Also, the police may order musical entertainment to cease because it may incite a crowd to become unruly and risks injury.

Obey Standard Pedestrian and Vehicular Traffic Laws
Whether you close a street or use a sidewalk you and your event participants must adhere to all applicable laws. Special events are subject to all rules, laws and ordinances. An issued permit does not constitute a waiver by the City of any laws or ordinances that may apply to the permitted event or any activities associated with the permitted event. Your event may require the presence of traffic safety monitors--these can be hired personnel or volunteers. Instructions will be provided by the Tacoma Police Department Special Events Sergeant.

Notification
The Special Events Office will conduct public notification for events that close a street, or that have substantial impact to a surrounding neighborhood. However, the applicant is required to contact residents and businesses within a reasonable radius* regarding details of the special event.
*The Permitting Authority has discretion to determine the size of the reasonable radius based on factors including the event size and its impact on surrounding properties. Please contact the Special Events Office if you require assistance with the notification identification and samples of letters.

Other Requirements May Apply

Additional Fire Department Special Event Permits
Your event may require additional permits from Tacoma's Fire Department. Find out which permits your event must obtain by calling (253) 591-5740, or by going to the department's Operational Permits webpage.

Fire Department Special Event Permits Frequently Asked Questions

Use of Off-Duty Police Officers
In some cases the Tacoma Police Department Special Events Sergeant will determine event applicants are required to hire off-duty police officers to monitor the event. Police fees range from $55 - $70 per hour, with a minimum of four hours per officer. You may have the option of using Explorer Cadets, and should coordinate with the Special Events Sergeant if this option is available to you.

Traffic Control Plan (TCP) 
Applicants are responsible for the creation of their traffic control plan (TCP), if it applies to their event. The Tacoma Police Department Special Events Sergeant will consult with the applicant to determine the safest street closure, right-of-way barricade, and/or other key pedestrian and vehicular changes. TCPs are submitted by the applicant to the City and are reviewed and approved by our Traffic Engineer. Samples of TCPs can be found on GovMe.

         Disposable Plastic Bags Banned at Special Events

After July 12, 2017, any corporation, including street fair and festival vendors, that sells or provides merchandise, goods, or materials is no longer able to provide thin plastic checkout bags (less than 2.25 mils) and must collect   a pass-through a fee on recycled paper and other retailer provided checkout bags. Hot or cold prepared foods are exempt. For more information, visit cityoftacoma.org/shoppingbags.

Green Events in Tacoma
The City's Green Events Criteria will give you a good idea of what our Office of Sustainability requires of special events that fall within the programs criteria. The City's goal is to foster sustainable events with minimal impact on the environment.

Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
For temporary food establishment rules and regulations, and how they apply for permits, contact the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department at (253) 798-7677.

City of Tacoma Tax and License Department 
For information about multi-vendor business licensing for events like the one you are doing (similar to farmers markets). (253) 591-5252, and describe your event—how they proceed will depend on multiple factors.

Metro Parks Tacoma
If you will be using either a park or a structure operated by Metro Parks you’ll want to contact them to reserve it. Find information about their Facility Rentals on the Metro Parks website. If you need assistance finding out if your chosen location is a Metro Parks, or a park managed by another entity, you can call the Special Events Office at (253) 573-2523.

Waste Management Services
Depending on the size and location of your event, you may be required to supply portable restrooms and trash and recycling receptacles--use this helpful chart to find out if this applies to your event. An Environmental Services Sponsorship grant might be available be for your sani-cans, recycling and trash receptacles. Find out more here or call (253) 502-2122.

Barricades
As the City, we do not promote any single business, but we are able to provide a list of those businesses we know are able to provide the service you may require. Go to the Resources & Links page for more information.

Now go to the Fee Schedules page.