Application Instructions

The Event Organizer is the designated individual who has been authorized to apply for the permit and to plan the event. This person must be available to work closely with the City’s Event Team throughout the permitting process.  During your event a contact person must be available on-site.  The contact person should provide the City with a cellular telephone number, or pager number, or designate some other way to contact him/her during the event. The contact person is required to have full authority to act on behalf of and make decisions for, any sponsoring organization for all segments of the event. 
Failure to communicate and coordinate problems with City representatives on the day of the event will have a negative impact on future applications.

If your event involves street closures, you may be required to obtain traffic
control/safety equipment such as barricades, traffic cones, signs, and parking meter bags. Though the Department of Public Works may be able to assist you, ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure proper traffic control during the full extent of your event. If the closure creates a potential hazard, your organization will be required to consult with the Ithaca Police Department and the Transportation Engineer.  For more than a single block closure, a map will be required showing the desired locations for barricades.  If your event requires someone to direct traffic in the streets, you may be required to hire someone who has professional traffic control training to complete this task.   

You may be required to provide advisory and/or directional signage prior to the event if your event impacts a major-use roadway.  Advisory signs are intended to provide advance notice to the public of the scheduled closure.

If an event involves closing a street for a full day, the organizer will be required to work with the City to provide temporary disabled parking spaces outside the closed venue area. One space will be required for each block closed, plus an additional space must be provided for each permanent disabled parking place displaced.

In some situations when sufficient parking is not available, the event organizer may be required to provide a shuttle plan.   The shuttle plan shall include accommodations for people with disabilities.

You may be required to implement mitigation measures for negative consequences imposed upon others by your event, such as street closures. Mitigation measures may include hand-delivering notices to affected residents, businesses, and churches; placing an advertisement in local newspapers; posting flyers in business windows; or distributing a local news release including printed, radio and television media. Notices must reflect the date(s), day(s), time(s), location(s) and types of activities taking place during your event. The notice must give detour or alternate route information if normal access is affected or if transportation systems are impacted. Please attach a draft sample of the notice and a proposed list of recipients with your application.

This person shall create the traffic and/or parking plan for the event.  This person is required to have the proper authority to make decisions on behalf of the Event Organizer and any sponsoring organization, and will be held responsible for all event traffic and parking issues. 

Approval of amplified sound or other noise sources is conditional upon the sound remaining at a reasonable level throughout the duration of the event.  Complaints about unreasonable sound levels may result in a request to reduce the volume level and/or an order to immediately remove the sound source.

Use of city electric sources may be available at some facilities at a predetermined cost.  Your application must include information about the power sources you will be using during your event.  The City may require that a licensed electrician be available during the event to ensure safe equipment connections.  Planned uses of generators, special lighting, fireworks or pyrotechnics require thorough review by the Ithaca Fire Department.


Guidelines are provided by the Tompkins County Department of Health.  You can contact them at (607) 274-6688. These guidelines should enable you to plan food handling, preparation and distribution in the most responsible and legal manner.  Health permits may be required by the Tompkins County Department of Health if food or beverages are sold or given away during special events.  All vendors are required to submit copies of their Health Permits to the Event Organizer.  The Event Organizer is responsible for maintaining this information for inspection and review by the City of Ithaca.

In addition, permits are required by the Ithaca Fire Department for vendors that use solid, liquid or gas fired cooking/heating appliances.  The Ithaca Fire Department is available at (607) 272-1234 for advice on vendor placement in relation to the use of tents/canopies and cooking appliances, and maintaining fire lanes. The Ithaca Fire Department may require an inspection at your cost before and/or during the event.  The fire code will be strictly enforced.

The Event Permit requires the Event Organizer to exercise exclusive control and regulation over any concessionaires present at the event.  You will be expected to provide a plan for such concessionaires including loading / unloading of equipment and products, security, fire lane and fire code compliance, evacuation plans in case of emergencies, trash and grease clean-up and disposal.  The City may require copies of liability insurance certificates.  

Special permission is required for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages on city property.  This permission will be coordinated through the City Clerk’s Office.  In addition, proof of a liquor license from the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC), and liquor liability insurance are required. The City will only approve the sale and consumption of alcohol during an event in a venue that includes a controlled, clearly defined containment area.

Vendors with permits or agreements to sell food, beverages, or merchandise should include the City of Ithaca as the origin of sales.  All vendors shall provide a copy of their New York State Sales Tax Certificate to the Event Organizer.  The Event Organizer is responsible for maintaining this information for inspection and review by the City.

Tents larger than 20’ x 20’ in size and structures require a building permit from the Ithaca Building Department.  You can contact them at (607) 274-6508. 
You must contact the Parks & Forestry Unit, (607) 272-1718, to identify locations where tents can be placed within City parks.  Prior approval is required to have tents and structures placed on city property prior to the event date and removed after the event date.  A certificate of insurance is required for all rented tents and structures, and should name the City of Ithaca as an additional insured.  All tents and other objects that require staking in the ground are subject to and will adhere to Dig Safely New York regulations.


Event organizers are required to provide a safe and secure environment for their event.  This is accomplished through sound pre-planning and by anticipating potential problems and concerns. The size, type, location, and time of the event, as well as event activities, are all areas that need to be analyzed in depth by the Event Team.  The Event Team will determine the level of security required for the event.  This may include a requirement to hire certified security guards, armed security guards, and/or uniformed police officers.  All security companies hired to work an event must be licensed, bonded, and insured and proof must be submitted to the City before a permit application will be approved.  Security companies must submit a written communication plan describing how communications will be handled between them, the Event Organizer and the Ithaca Police Department during the event.  The City reserves the right to deny an application based on inadequate security plans or the selection of a security company that has not worked cooperatively with the City in the past.

“Accessible” describes a site, building, facility or portion thereof that can be approached, entered and used by all people.  It is the Applicant’s responsibility to comply with all city, county, state and federal accessibility requirements that are applicable to the event.  All indoor and outdoor sites for events must be accessible to persons with disabilities. If a portion of the area is inaccessible, an alternate area must be provided with the same activities that are in the inaccessible area. The alternate site cannot, however, be offered only to patrons with disabilities.

Accessibility requirements shall include parking, restrooms, clear paths of travel, transportation, accessible vendors and booths. If all areas are not accessible, a map or program must be provided to attendees, indicating the accessible restrooms, parking, and other facilities and venues.

This person creates the Accessibility Plan, responds to requests for special accommodations, and ensures that the event is accessible to everyone. It is the Accessibility Coordinator’s responsibility to be on-site during the event, and to comply with city, county, state and federal accessibility requirements that are applicable to the event.

In case of an emergency during your event, the City will require you to suspend your activities and announce the need to clear the area for emergency vehicles and personnel.  Event Organizers shall assist emergency personnel in evacuating employees, volunteers, entertainers, and the general public from the area.  A contingency plan shall be prepared in case the event needs to be canceled, postponed, or relocated due to public safety concerns including adverse weather conditions.

Trash and waste must be properly disposed of throughout the duration of your event, and the area must be returned to a clean condition immediately upon conclusion of the event. Authorized placement locations for trash receptacles shall be determined upon consultation with the City for each event.

All events should be planned as if no permanent toilet facilities are available.  The city’s infrastructure is aged and limited.  Portable toilet facilities are required for all events that last in excess of 4 hours and have an expected attendance of more than 500 people.  Of the number of required toilet facilities, at least 10% of the total toilets shall meet accessibility guidelines. The total number of toilets required will be determined on a case-by-case basis.  Placement of portable toilets shall be coordinated with the City.

Event Organizers who fail to perform adequate clean-up, or damage occurs to city property and facilities, will be billed at full cost recovery rates plus overhead for cleanup and repair. In addition, such failure may result in denial of future Event applications or the requirement of a cash deposit or surety bond for future events.

On August 1, 2010 the City of Ithaca enacted new legislation that prohibits smoking on portions of City property, parks and natural areas.  This legislation affects planning for special events.  Please see Chapter 280 of the City of Ithaca Municipal Code entitled “Smoking, Outdoor” for details.  The City of Ithaca Municipal Code can be accessed on line at – City Code.

The Sponsoring Organization hereby agrees to provide the City with a certificate of general liability insurance, evidencing (1) that the Sponsoring Organization is or will be covered, for the duration of this event, by a liability insurance policy with a minimum limit of $1,000,000.00 (each occurrence) for bodily injury, a minimum limit of $100,000.00 (each occurrence) for property damage, and a minimum limit of $2,000,000.00 (each occurrence) for liability arising from the sale or consumption of alcohol; and (2) that the City of Ithaca is named as an additional insured under said policy.  The Sponsoring Organization shall provide the City with immediate notice, in writing and by contacting the Mayor in person or by telephone, of any cancellation of such coverage or of any reduction in coverage below the minimum limits set forth above, if such cancellation or reduction occurs or is scheduled to occur prior to the end of this scheduled event.

The City reserves the right to require a bond or security deposit from the Sponsoring Organization in the event that the City determines that the certificate of insurance is not adequate or is not appropriate.

Block parties and similar neighborhood gatherings, motorcades, parades, and public gatherings and assemblages for which a street obstruction permit has been granted, are exempt from the insurance requirements. Street obstruction permits for block parties and similar neighborhood gatherings shall be issued only upon the condition that no alcohol is consumed in the public rights-of-way.