Special Events Coordination
The City of Palo Alto has a Special Events Team made up of representatives from the Police Department, Fire Department, Public Works Department, Planning Department, Transportation Department, Recreation Department and the City Risk Management Division. This team meets monthly to review, plan and properly permit special events. A special event is defined as any occurrence on public or private property that by its nature may have an effect on residents, traffic, businesses or public encroachment.
To learn more about the various types of special events and the processes required to obtain City permission for them, expand the appropriate section of the accordions below.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the Coronavirus global health emergency, please ensure that prior to submitting any special events application to the City, that your event complies with the most current health orders issued by the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health and the requirements of the State of California Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The City will not grant any special events permit that conflicts with any portion of a public health order or any state requirement.
Special Events Permits
Most special events require a City permit. If you are planning a special event, you must submit a written proposal to the Special Operations Sergeant at least 30 days prior to the event. The Special Operations Sergeant will distribute the proposal to Special Events Team members for review and authorization. You can apply for a permit online by clicking on the link below. There you can download a permit application form. The application can be filled out online and then printed out and mailed or brought to the Police Department (the application must be signed). If your event is authorized, and your application approved, you will be required to pay the applicable permit fees prior to your event. Your permit will not be issued until the fees have been collected.
Activities that may require permits are as follows: private parties, an event at a public park, any street closure, any film production shoot, any erected tent with more than 400 square feet, any encroachment on City property, any noise source not covered by the Municipal Code, and/or any planned event that the City's Risk Manager believes creates City liability.
Special Event Permit Application(PDF, 3MB)
Palo Alto provides an excellent backdrop for film and video production companies. All filming proposals will be arranged through the Special Operations Sergeant (650-329-2459) who will notify other City departments (Public Works, Fire, Planning, Human Resources, Transportation, and Recreation) in order to arrange for the safe and orderly compliance of laws and City policies. The film proposal shall be submitted no less than 30 days prior to filming. Sixty days (60) in advance is required for a large-scale production.
Guidelines and Filming Permit Application(PDF, 102KB)
If you are planning a block party in a residential neighborhood, you can download a copy of the permit application form below. The application can be filled out online and then printed out and mailed or brought to the Police Department (the application must be signed).
Block Party Permit Application(PDF, 167KB)
Requests for Police Services
Residents may also request services from the Police Department to assist with security, traffic and crowd control for certain types of special events. It must be understood by the party requesting police services that requests are filled on an overtime basis only, and overtime requests are posted one month in advance. Therefore, the sooner we receive your written request for police services, the better chance you have of that request being filled.
Any written request for police services received less than 30 days prior to the event may not be filled due to the above policy. All requests for police services must be approved by the Special Operations Sergeant.
It is the policy of our Revenue Collections Department that a deposit for the full estimated amount of services be received prior to the event. If your request for police services cannot be filled or an officer(s) was there for a shorter length of time than requested, you will be refunded; likewise, if an officer(s) is at an event longer than requested or a higher-ranking officer fills the spot, you will be billed for the difference.
Checks are to be made out to the City of Palo Alto; arrangements must be made to have the check received at least one week prior to the event. No exceptions can be made to this policy.
You can download a Request For Police Officer Services Form using the link below, and complete it online then print it out and mail or bring it to the Police Department. You should call the numbers listed on the form for more information on fees and deposits, prior to competing the application form.
Request for Police Officer Services Form(PDF, 17KB)
Valet Parking Permits
The City of Palo Alto regulates the use of valet parking for businesses and/or special events in the City. Before you can legally provide valet parking at your business and/or event, you must apply for a Valet Parking Permit from the Police Department. There is also a fee associated with the issuance of the permit. You can apply for the permit by contacting the Police Department's Code Enforcement Officer in charge of valet parking. You can do this in person at the Police Department at 275 Forest Avenue (Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or request an application be mailed you by calling 650-329-2130. Or, you can download an application using the link below, which can be completed online and then printed out and mailed or dropped off at the Police Department (along with the permit fee).
Valet Parking Permit Application(PDF, 441KB)