Special Events Permits 

Special Events and Cultural Events are periodic special events which attract a large gathering of people such as:

  • Parades
  • Concerts
  • Festivals
  • Athletic events (like races)
  • Any large gathering where amplified music, advertisement to the general public, or a fee is charged

Depending on the nature of your event, you may need to obtain permits or approvals to ensure a well-planned, safe event.

Special Event Encroachment Permit

If the special event will be conducted within a “public right of way,” which is public property in unincorporated Sonoma County (such as roadways, driveways, sidewalks, curbs, and gutters), you will need a Special Event Encroachment Permit. Examples of these events: Parades, marathons, bike races, street fairs, etc.

Application form:
ENC-004 Application Special Event Encroachment Permit (PDF: 87 kB)


Organizers for the events listed in the calendar below have obtained Special Event Encroachment Permits from Permit Sonoma. The listed events are expected to cause road closures in unincorporated Sonoma County. Please view the event information for road closure information.

View Calendar

Zoning Permits

An zoning permit must be obtained from the Planning Division for special events which do not conform to a property's zoning or permitted usage.

Event Characteristics

Special Events are allowed with a zoning permit in the following zoning districts: AR, AS, C0, C1, C2, C3, DA, K, LC, LEA, LIA, M1, M2, M3, MP, PC, R1, R2, R3, RR, RRD, RRDWA, and TP. Special Events are not allowed at vacation rentals unless a use permit has been approved.

Event TicketA zoning permit is required for events that have any one or more of the following characteristics:

  1. Live amplified music
  2. An admission fee
  3. More than one-day event or a one-day event beyond the hours of 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  4. Overnight sleeping accommodations
  5. An event occurring more than once in a 30-day period
  6. Publicized to the public at large through printed advertisements, newspaper, radio or television
  7. Sale of food or beverage

The following do not require a zoning permit:

  1. Events conducted entirely within dedicated rights-of-way where encroachment/special event permits are obtained from the County or State.
    Special Event Encroachment Permit (PDF: 87 kB)
  2. Events entirely within a building for which all necessary County permits have been obtained and which allow the particular use.
  3. Events at fairgrounds or outdoor spectator facilities where a use permit has already been obtained.

More Special Event Zoning Permit Information

The County of Sonoma’s Health Services Department’s Food Safety Program provides permits for events that involve food.

A review and approval for the public display of fireworks and special effects is conducted by the Fire Prevention Division with the primary objective of increasing safety for the public, pyrotechnic crew, and fire personnel.

All temporary tents and membrane structures greater then 400 square feet require a permit and inspection from the Fire Prevention Division. Tents when approved by the Fire Code Official may be exempt.

The Fire Prevention Division performs the required catering vendor and cooking booth inspections at special and managed events.

Wastewater Disposal

The On-Site Wastewater Disposal Systems Criteria policy(PDF) determines wastewater flows and the use of portable toilets for special events.

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Special Permits