Special Community Event Permit

A Special Community Event permit is required to hold a special event open to the public that is held on public streets/alley or public property, i.e. parks, as well as certain events on private property that are not consistent with the property’s zoning classification or which may cause traffic, parking, noise or other impacts on neighboring properties.  Examples of special events that are required to obtain a permit are street fairs, foot races, bicycle rides/races, carnivals, farmers’ markets, etc. 

The City has created a Special Community Events Committee which is comprised of representatives from the Police, Fire, Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Community Development Departments to facilitate the review and approval process for Special Community Event Permits.  This one stop review process provides applicants with comments and suggestions on how to best facilitate an event.  The Committee meets monthly and applicants for first time events are required to attend. 

Special Community Event Frequently Asked Questions:

How far in advance do applications need to be submitted?
Applications can be submitted up to a year in advance of an event but must be submitted no later than 90 days in advance for new events and 45 days in advance for previously held events.

Is there an application fee?
Yes.  Application fees for events sponsored by non-profits are either $100 or $230 depending upon their complexity. Events sponsored by commercial businesses or for-profit organizations will be required to post a $1000 application fee to cover all staff costs related to the processing of the application.  Fees are due at the time the application is submitted, and are nonrefundable.

Will there be other charges?
Depending upon the nature of the event, costs for city services such as Police, Fire, Public Works, etc. that are needed to directly support the event will be billed to the applicant.  Events held in parks may also be charged a facility use charge. 

Are other permits and licenses required?
Under certain conditions permits from other agencies such as San Mateo County Health, Alcohol Beverage Control, etc. will be required if cooking food or selling alcoholic beverages is being requested.  Any vendors providing services or selling goods at the event are required to have an active City of San Mateo Business License.

Departmental representatives from the Special Community Events Committee will provide additional guidance.

Where can I obtain a Special Events application?
The Special Community Event Permit Guide and Application is available online. 

You can also download a separate and fillable PDF of the Special Community Event Application.

Where do I submit my application?
All Special Event applications regardless of location should be submitted to the Department of Public Works. You can submit the application by mail, or by dropping the application off at City Hall. City Hall is located at 330 W 20th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403. A representative of the Committee will contact you for additional information or to schedule your meeting with the Special Events Committee.  

Download the Special Community Event Permit Guide and Application 

Download the Special Community Event Permit Application Only  

Visit the San Mateo City Charter and Municipal Code website to read the complete Special Community Events Ordinance.


(650) 522-7300