Special Events Permits
are needed when
- An event will take place on public property (regardless of whether it is open to the general public or not), and/or
- An event is open to the general public, and/or
- An event will take place on private commercial property that requires conditional use approval (meaning the property is required to get a permit for events that are open to the public).
The City of Miami Beach presents an excellent sample of what is needed and what to expect when pursuing a Special Events Permit. Check out this Guide to Special Events in Miami Beach for a comprehensive overview. Remember, each city will have their own process, but the requirements are fairly similar.
- Time! Most permits require at least 30 days and typically up to 60 days for processing.
- Fee: Most special events permits cost between $150 - $300 (assuming additional permits aren't necessary).
- Commercial General Liability Insurance with $1,000,000 in coverage
- Police Officers. Many (but not all) special events will require you to contract off-duty police officers. The number of officers depends on the logistics of the event.
- Additional Permits - A general rule of thumb: the number of permits will increase with the number of things happening at your event. For example, if you incorporate lights and sounds requiring electricity, you'll need a Building Permit for the electrical.
Where to start
Many cities in Miami-Dade County have a Special Events office. If your location does not, call the city's main number and ask about Special Events permitting.
Special Events vs. Temporary Use
Here's the difference: a Special Events Permit covers, well, events. A Temporary Use Permit (TUP) may also cover events, but the difference is in the use -- a TUP is needed when the intended use of the location has to change in order to accommodate that event.
Example: a farmer's market in a parking lot where the "intended use" is parked cars, but that will temporarily change to "produce purveyor".
A few additional points
Large scale events (think Food and Wine Festival or Ultra) that require broader coordination of city services (code enforcement, sanitation, etc) may need to go in front of the municipality's Special Events Board.