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The Special Events & Film Office is responsible for assisting applicants with obtaining permits from various City Departments. To obtain a permit, please complete the application that corresponds with the type of project you wish to produce. With a one-stop approach and no-cost processing our dedicated staff is here to assist you along the way. The Special Events & Film Office also requires all event producers and film companies to provide proof of adequate insurance for all projects; which is required upon approval of your application. In addition to the Special Events & Film Office requirements, depending on the uniqueness of the project, additional city permits and/or fees may be required.
A Petitioner is required to obtain a Special Events Permit from the Detroit City Council to conduct any event in the public right-of-way or outdoors on private property where the general public is invited.
Events that do not need to follow this process are: Residential Block Parties and Private Invitation Only events held inside a private facility.
Note: Please be aware that submission of an application does not guarantee permit issuance.
Join us in celebrating Detroit by applying today!
"Right of Way" Permit
A Right of Way permit is required for any event that will use a portion of a street, ally or sidewalk. This included the closing of an entire street or designation of curb lanes for special parking/no parking.
The City Engineering Department will review the request and recommend adjustments to the street plan. Clean up and /or other conditions will be communicated to you after your application has been reviewed at the Special Events Management meeting.
"Right of Way" Permit Costs
Right of Way Permits for Special Events cost vary. Upon receipt of your Special Events application, the City Engineering Department will consider the emergency vehicle access, parking and traffic congestion when approving your application.
The applicant is responsible for closing the street with proper barricades and clear, concise signage for traffic detours. The City of Detroit requires a "Type 3" barricade for all closures. As part of your application, you will be asked to submit the name of the traffic control company you are hiring for managing closures/detours, along with the detail plan of where the barricades and signage will be placed
Michigan State Highway Closures
Some city streets are also state highways and require a closure permit from the Michigan Department of Transportation. Closing any interstate on/off ramps also requires a permit from the Michigan Department of Transportation. After reviewing your application, the Office of Special Events will alert you if a MDOT permit is required and provide you with further information on how to apply for the permit. You will be responsible for hiring a traffic control company to manage the closure.
A Street Closure Report must be included in your Special Events Application.It must provide a text and turn-by-turn description of your route from start point to end point. The wording should utilize directions (N,S,E,W) as well as street names. A map attachment of your route is mandatory.
Parking Meters and Costs
The City of Detroit - Municipal Parking Department manages parking meters, which must be rented for the time that the curb lane will be blocked from public parking.
Tents requiring permits
Any tent larger than a 10x10 will require a tent permit.
shall not be erected prior to obtaining a tent permit:
A site plan must include the following: location of the tent(s) in relation to the property lines and building(s), the means of egress (exits) and exit path(s) to the street, alley or public way for the tent and for any building affected by an erected tent. Exit signs, emergency lights, doors and any HVAC for the tent shall be shown on the plans upon application submittal.
Formal approval will be issued in the form of a "Certificate of Inspection" signed and dated by the Fire Safety Unit inspector and an "Occupancy Load Placard" indicating the maximum number of persons allowed in the tent. Both documents shall be posted in a conspicuous, protected location.
It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the tent is being operated and maintained in a safe manner in accordance with the permit requirements, including not exceeding the occupant load. Failure to operate and maintain the tent in accordance with the permit requirements may result in immediate closure, revocation of the "Certificate of Inspection", fines and/or other legal actions by the City of Detroit.
For specific fire safety questions regarding tents, relating to exits, occupants loads, exit signs, emergency lighting, fire extinguishers, exit doors and hardware etc. contact the Detroit Fire Department - Fire Inspection Unit.
Temporary Power using Generators
Generators providing power for an event will require a permit from the Building, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department. An inspector from the Building, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department will be onsite to inspect the generator prior to the event. If a problem is found it must be corrected immediately or the City reserves the right to shut down your event.
Selling/Serving Food and/or Alcohol
For the sale of/or consumption of liquor, wine or spirits at an event a Liquor License must be obtained from the State of Michigan through the Detroit Police Department. The licensing process can take up to one month. The State of Michigan must receive your request two weeks prior to the date of the event.
Applicants must apply for a food vendor's permit and temporary Liquor License permit.
The goal of a successful contingency plan is not only to protect life and property by identifying the risks associated with an event, but to also develop a plan of action to minimize those risks and address the safety requirements of the participants and spectators. Event organizers should take into consideration the scope of the event, the potential risk of injury or illness to participants and spectators, security needs, and emergency support required to help promote a safe and enjoyable event. Should a natural or man-made disaster occur, the event organizer(s) is legally and morally obligated to ensure that the necessary and appropriate actions will be taken to minimize harm. The Detroit Police Department stands ready to work with you to ensure that the necessary resources and personnel are available to help make your event successful. The Detroit Police Department and Detroit Emergency Medical Service Department will provide the requirements based on the uniqueness of your event.
Notification to Surrounding Area
To ensure the safety of the event participants and the community, it is the responsibility of the event organizers to arrange notification to businesses and residents in the area immediately surrounding the event site. This communication should include details about the event such as dates and times they will likely be impacted by the flow of traffic and people, etc.
Trash Collection for Events
Clean-up following the event is the responsibility of the applicant. You will be asked to provide the name of the sanitation company as well as a contract of services provided by said company to ensure the event site will be returned back to its original state.