Special Event Permit
Ready to host your event in Imperial Beach? Let us help you make it an ocean breeze.
We created a comprehensive list of additional forms, templates, and examples to help make applying for a permit as simple as possible. We know planning an event can be overwhelming but we are here to help you through the process and never hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
A complete application form, layout map, and application fee payment for all events must be received no later than ninety (90) days prior to your event, but can be submitted up to one year in advance.
Events held in Portwood Pier Plaza, Dunes Park, on the beach, in the ocean, or any road closure, will be taken before the City Council for approval no less than sixty (60) days prior to your event. Events are on a first come first serve basis and these are the most popular locations to host events so get your applications, layout map, and application fee payments in early!
We have some requirements that will need to be met no matter the size or scope of the event. Thoroughly read through each section below to help out get ready to host your event in Imperial Beach.
Event Forms & Documents
It is important for our staff to have all the details of your event from setup to strike. We will always require a detailed timeline of your event so we know when deliveries will happen and when the venue will return back to regular operations. The timeline you provide needs to include all activities including setup, deliveries, tear down, and time you will be off-site.
Before final approval you will need to provide a certificate evidencing Commercial General Liability insurance in the name of the permit applicant/organization and a separate Additional Insured Endorsement, Additional Insured Form CG2026 (Example), designating “City of Imperial Beach”. The applicant may also be asked to provide other insurance as deemed necessary to address the risk associated with the event, for example, Liquor Legal, Fireworks, Automobile, Aviation, etc. If the applicant is unable to meet the above requirements, special event liability insurance may be purchased through the City's Administrative Services Department, depending on the type and scope of the event.
Minimum policy limits are generally $2 million aggregate and $1 million per occurrence. Each policy and endorsement must include the City of Imperial Beach, its officials, directors, employees, representatives, and volunteers as additionally named insured. If your event will be held on the tidelands, the San Diego Unified Port District must also be listed as additionally insured. Insurance coverage must be primary and maintained for the duration of the event including set-up and dismantle dates and times. The applicant and all contracted service providers that have paid employees must also submit proof of Worker's Compensation Insurance with a minimum policy limit of $1 million.
Summary of Requirements
Certificate of Insurances
All Certificates of Insurance must name as the Additional Insured: The City of Imperial Beach, its officials, directors, employees, representatives, and volunteers. (Must also include San Diego Unified District if held on the beach, Pier Plaza, and/or Dunes Park.)
Additional Insured Endorsements
All separate additional Insured Endorsements must name, The City of Imperial Beach, its officials, directors, employees, representatives, and volunteers. (Must also include Unified Port of San Diego if held on the beach, Pier Plaza, and/or Dunes Park.)
We will always require a layout map to accompany your application. We have created map templates to assist you in laying out your event and be sure to add as much detail as possible.
When creating your map, it is important to include an outline of the entire venue including the names of all streets or areas that are part of the venue and surrounding area.
- The location of fencing and/or barriers, if applicable. Indicate any removable fencing for emergency access.
- The provision of a minimum twenty feet (20') emergency access lanes throughout the event venue. Please indicate the emergency access lanes on your map.
- The location of first aid facilities and ambulances, if applicable. Ambulance and/or medic name and mobile number will need to be provided prior to the event
- The location of all stages, platforms, scaffolding, bleachers, grandstands, canopies, tents, portable toilets, booths, beer gardens, cooking areas, trash/recycling containers, and other temporary structures, if applicable.
- Vendor booth placement, dimensions, and indication of booths that need electrical.
- A detailed or close-up of food booths and cooking area configuration including booth identification of all vendors cooking with flammable gases or barbecue grills. Reminder that cooking food vendors and drink vendors are not allowed in Portwood Pier Plaza, with some exceptions, please contact the Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department for more information.
- Generator locations and/or source of electricity. (Include size of generators)
- Placement of vehicles and/or trailers. No vehicles are to be parked on Elder Avenue street-end, even for unloading/loading.
- Exit locations for outdoor events that are fenced and/or locations within tents and tent structures.
- Identification of all event components that meet accessibility standards.
Events are meant to be a fun way to bring the community together! Informing Imperial Beach residents of upcoming events not only helps to market your event, but also help mitigate negative feedback you may receive regarding your event.
We will always require a sample of the marketing materials you are using, but we also want to make sure you are informing all residents within proximity of your event of the impact.
When submitting your application, we will always require a copy of the notification you are sending to residents. It should be at least letter size (8.5" x 11") flyer with pertinent information, including instructions on how to access their homes during the event if there will be a road closure. Residents needs to be notified at least 10 days in advance of your event.
Pro tip - we can provide a mailing list of all the addresses within proximity of your event! Mailing the notification ensures every home counts and you don't have to encounter any unfriendly animals (dogs or otherwise!) going home to home. Just give us plenty of notice so we can pull the addresses together for you.
Resident Notification Form with all event details needs to be provided to all impacted residents.
All events in Portwood Pier Plaza and Dunes Park will require a licensed security company to place personnel at all of the following locations to ensure vehicles are not blocking emergency access and public services:
Portwood Pier Plaza Security
Dunes Park Security
- Daisy Avenue and Seacoast Drive
- MTS Bus Stop
If private security is not provided for all locations, a San Diego County Sheriff Department Contract for Services coordinated through Parks, Recreation & Community Services will be required for all future events in Portwood Pier Plaza. Please ensure personnel is indicated at these locations on your map.
Did you know our storm drains run right into the ocean? That is why it is so important to keep them clear of any debris, especially during an event!
We ask that you cover all storm drains within your event footprint to help us keep any debris from entering the ocean. It takes all of us to keep IB clean!
Additional Event Forms & Documents
In addition to the documents already mentioned, there may be other requirements needed before a permit can be issued.
We strive to keep the Classic Southern California beach atmosphere in Imperial Beach. We bring events into the community that support our local businesses, so if you wish to have alcohol as part of your event please use one of our local establishments to provide libations. If you desire to apply for approval, please submit an ABC 221 form for review by the San Diego County Sheriff Department and the City Manager. If approved, licensed security is required.
All organizations or businesses must obtain a City of Imperial Beach business license to host an event in Imperial Beach. Pro tip, do this early!
Ready to get a business license? Our Finance Department is ready and waiting to help make the process easy and breezy.
If your event will be in Portwood Pier Plaza or within proximity of a business then we will require this form to be submitted. It is important our business community is aware of any event that may impact them to help them schedule appropriate staffing and to also help their staff know if parking may be a little more challenging than usual. Working together with our business community helps to make the event experience even better!
We recommend providing a flyer with all the details of your event to the business and also any alternate routes that may help their staff and customers!
Download the Special Event Business Verification Form.
Booth Vendor Regulations
Booth vendors are a fun way to provide a treasure hunt for your attendees but we want to make sure your event safety is always a top priority! To ensure safety we have a few items Booth Vendor Regulations to review while getting prepared for your event. Please feel free to share download and share these regulations with your booth vendors to avoid any citations.
Vending in Portwood Pier Plaza and Dunes Park
We want to ensure we are a business friendly community. Portwood Pier Plaza and Dunes Park are close to some of our local flavors so please work with them to be the priority vendors at your event. If your event will be large and overwhelming for the local businesses within proximity of your event, then additional food vendors are welcome.
Booth Vendor Forms
Any distribution of food will require compliance with the County Health Department Temporary Food Facility Permit requirements. We will ask for a copy of the receipt as confirmation.
Applicants are responsible for leaving the venue clean with no trash, or empty boxes left behind. If any trash is left behind for City staff to pick up, staff time will be incurred according to the City Council approved fee schedule.
You are required to provide portable restrooms at your event unless you can substantiate the sufficient availability of ADA-accessible and non-accessible public facilities in the immediate area of the event to accommodate the estimated attendance.
Safety is a priority in Imperial Beach so depending on various factors such as expected attendance, type of event, etc. we may require additional security for crowd control. We will always require security for street closures any event where alcohol will be served so please include the name of the security company on the Service Providers Form. It is also highly recommended to use security for any equipment that will be left overnight. The City is not responsible for damaged or stolen items.
Any requests for City staff event support will incur additional fees compliant with the City Council approved fee schedule.
If you need to use electricity for your event, we do have areas in Portwood Pier Plaza, Dunes Park, and on the rotunda at Veterans Park that may accommodate your event. However, we highly recommend a backup plan for electricity as the City cannot guarantee functioning electrical supply. The City of Imperial Beach also does not have a backup generator to utilize should the electrical supply fail so please plan accordingly.
Please use a State of California licensed electrician to ensure the correct equipment is being utilized. We will not provide electricity to events if it is raining for the safety of participants and attendees.
If you will need any sand grading, stacking, kelp removal, or any additional assistance in getting the beach ready for your event then we are happy to accommodate your request. Be sure to include as much detail as possible in your application.
Our parks open at 7:00 a.m. so restrooms will not be available for events with an early start time. On your application please indicate if you will need the restrooms open earlier than 7:00 a.m. so we can schedule staff accordingly.
Seacoast Drive Bollards
Road closures on Seacoast Drive require the use of the traffic bollards to ensure safety of our beach goers and attendees during your event. There are over 20 vehicular entrances onto Seacoast Drive!
All traffic control equipment and personnel will be the responsibility of the applicant to acquire, maintain, and remove.
Road closures will require a traffic plan by a licensed professional. The traffic plan will need to include all equipment to be utilized for a proper closure. If the closure will be on Seacoast Drive, the use of proper road closure signage and detours will need to be utilized in addition to the bollards. You will be provided with a map of the bollard locations. There will be barricade locations indicated where the applicant will be responsible for providing equipment to ensure access for emergency personnel, such as barricades. Additional fees apply.
Road closures require a San Diego County Sheriff Department Contract for Services coordinated through Parks, Recreation & Community Services.
No parking signage is required to be placed at least 72 hours prior to the event. Parking is limited, if you are estimating a well-attended event, it is recommended to reserve alternative parking for attendees. Additional fees apply.
The City of Imperial has two (2)parking lots available for events at Elkwood Avenue and Seacoast Drive, and Palm Avenue and Seacoast Drive. We also coordinate the use of the private parking lot adjacent to Portwood Pier Plaza, which will be required for any events utilizing vendors as parking is limited in our beach town. Additional fees apply.
We know putting on an event takes a village and sometimes you will use service providers to manage the event, rent equipment, setup a stage, bring additional restrooms, and so much more!
It is important to remember all businesses providing a service for your event need to have a valid Imperial Beach business license and insurance on file with us. If you will be using service providers for your event, we will require the Service Providers Form.
Ready to apply?
If you think you have all the above items covered then you're ready to apply!
1. Check Pier Plaza availability only
2. Check availability at all other parks and beach locations. Do not submit a reservation request when viewing availability to avoid paying nonapplicable fees. Park reservations are for private gatherings, not community-wide special events.
3. Apply for Special Event Permit
4. Create an account to make event fee payments.