City of Boston "Permitting Information for July 24 - August 1, 2004"

Guidelines for any Person or Group Wishing to Stage an Event

For the Week of July 24 - August 1, 2004

In order to implement an efficient process for the permitting of public events during the week of the Democratic National Convention, the City of Boston is instituting a permitting process for the above dates that is described below.

What Events are Covered?
This application applies to any public event planned for July 24 – August 1, 2004 that is open to the public and held on private or public property, including parades and demonstrations; this also includes licensed venues that are seeking to alter the scope of their current license. Limited exceptions are described below.

What Form Must Be Completed to Start the Process?
Any applicant seeking to stage an event during this period must begin the process by completing the "Event Application for the Week of July 24 - August 1, 2004."

Where Can the Event Application for the Week of July 24 - August 1, 2004 be Obtained?
This application can be obtained by downloading it here in PDF format or by picking it up in person at the office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing. Rm. 817, Boston City Hall, Boston MA, located on the 8th Floor.

Download the Event Application, PDF

Download the Guidelines, PDF

Note: To view and print in PDF format, you must download and install the Adobe Acrobat Reader utility.

Where Should the Completed Application Be Submitted?
The Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing
Boston City Hall, Rm. 817
Boston, MA 02201

When is the Deadline for Submitting Applications?
Applications must be submitted at least 14 days before the proposed event. The applicant will be mailed a written response to their application within 7 days of receipt of a completed application.

What fees are required for filing applications?
Only entertainment type events (i.e., musical events, magic shows, theatrical performances, and the like) are subject to a one-time licensing fee of $25.00.

Is insurance required?
Insurance may be required if the event includes the erection of staging, use of propane for cooking, use of motor vehicles on city owned property, and the like. Insurance is not required for parades and stationary rallies that do not involve the use of any other equipment.

What city property will be subject to permitting?
The City routinely issues permits for use of City property, such as the Boston Common, Copley Plaza, Samuel Adams Park at Faneuil Hall, and Government Center.

What types of activities need permits?
Use of electric generators, staging, food vendors, propane tanks, and entertainment are some of the activities that must be permitted in order to take place on City property.

Do I need a permit for a sound system?
If an electric generator is needed to run the system, a permit is required. All sound is subject to the City of Boston Ordinance regulating Unreasonable Noise (City of Boston Code, 16-26, defined as in excess of 50 decibels from 11:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m., and 70 decibels at all other hours).

Can I obtain a parade permit during rush hour?
The City is offering a designated parade route (running from City Hall Plaza to the demonstration zone off Canal Street) that may be used during the rush hour period (3:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in Zone A, as defined in the Boston Transportation Department’s regulations, generally that portion of the City east of Massachusetts Avenue and including the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Financial District). Only the designated parade route can be used for marching during this time period.

What space limitations will be imposed near the FleetCenter?
Causeway Street will be closed to parades and marches, although the sidewalks on the [west] side of the street will be open to all pedestrian traffic. The immediate surroundings of the FleetCenter will be closed to all except those specifically credentialed to enter. The City is creating a “soft zone” in the area around the FleetCenter (the “Bulfinch Triangle”) which will be closed to vehicle access (except for previously scheduled deliveries). This area (boundaries…..) will be open to all pedestrian access.

Is the City providing a demonstration zone, and what is the process for obtaining access to it?
The City is providing a demonstration zone on a parcel of land adjacent to Canal Street, near the bus depot where delegates will be arriving for the Convention. No permit is necessary to enter the demonstration zone. No weapons (guns, knives, wrist-rockets, sling shots, etc.) or facsimile weapons (i.e., replica or toy guns, including super soakers), will be allowed in the demonstration zone. No poles or sticks will be allowed inside the demonstration zone. Any signs must be hand-held.

There will be a stage and sound system provided by the City inside the demonstration zone. That stage is available upon application at the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing. Applicants will be allotted fifty minute slots of time, and up to three consecutive fifty minute slots per day, per applicant. The stage can accommodate up to fifteen people, and in order to assure that all applicants have access to the stage, all applicants must have the City issued permit on their person in order to gain access to the stage.

Is the City planning to search individuals seeking to enter the demonstration zone?
No, but all persons will be subject to search if there is reasonable suspicion to believe that they are carrying weapons or other contraband.


Steps to Follow

Please Note: The process will vary somewhat depending upon the type of event described in the application (i.e., an event requesting permission to run electricity, erect temporary shelters or tents, use propane for cooking, or sell alcohol will necessitate review and permission from a number of City agencies, including Health, Fire, and the like). Parades or demonstrations may not require multiple approvals.

Step 1
Submit a completed Event Application for the Week of July 24 - August 1, 2004 to the office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing. Rm. 817, Boston City Hall, Boston MA.

The Office of Consumer Affairs will review the application and, unless there are specific reasons for denying the application, direct the applicant in writing to the appropriate agencies and departments for additional permits. If no permit is required for the described activity, the applicant will be so informed. The applicant will be mailed a written response to their application within 7 days of receipt of a completed application.

Step 2
The Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing will direct the applicant to the appropriate agencies to obtain the required permits. The applicant will be responsible for supplying any necessary information in order to obtain the appropriate permits from those agencies. The agencies and/or departments that the applicants may be referred to shall review the applicants’ application and issue its decision within five (5) business days.
If an applicant has been referred to multiple agencies/departments, the applicant may pursue their application with those agencies/departments simultaneously.

Step 3
After all necessary permits have been obtained by the applicant, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing shall issue the final approval or denial of the permit within three (3) business days.
The entire permitting process, from commencement to conclusion, shall not exceed fifteen (15) business days.

There are Limited Exceptions to the Permitting Requirements Described Above:

(1). Small Stationary Demonstrations:
Individuals and groups not exceeding twenty (20) people shall not be required to obtain any permits to exercise free speech and/or conduct lawful First Amendment activity. Said demonstrations shall be stationary in nature and shall not include the need for amplification, structures, and/or other equipment. Any individual or group acting under this provision shall abide by all regulations, ordinances, statutes and any and all other laws, including lawful orders of law enforcement officials. Any individual and/or groups in this category shall ensure safe passage (ingress-egress) for all pedestrian traffic on any and all sidewalks and other areas that they may be utilizing. Furthermore, any individual or group of twenty or fewer people without a permit under this provision shall remain clear of and off all roadways, streets, avenues and any and all other arterials utilized by vehicular traffic. If an individual or group wishes to use any roadway, street, avenue or any and all other arterials utilized by vehicular traffic that individual and/or group shall comply with steps one through three noted herein.

(2). Spontaneous Demonstrations:
In order to address the need for spontaneous demonstrations, from July 10, 2004 through August 1, 2004 the permitting scheme shall be modified as follows:

What are the Reasons an Application for a Permit Could be Denied?

The City of Boston seeks to accommodate all applicants seeking to take advantage of the City of Boston’s public forums. To maximize the efficient use of these forums and ensure the safety and convenience of the applicants and general public, access to these forums must be regulated. To this end, the City of Boston may deny an application for a permit for the following reasons:
The use or activity intended by the applicant is prohibited by law, ordinance, or by regulation.

Where an application for permit has been denied because a fully executed prior application for the same time and place has been received and a permit has been or will be granted to the prior applicant authorizing uses or activities which do not reasonably permit multiple occupancy of the particular area, the City will propose an alternative place, if available, for the same time, or an alternative time if available for the same place.

Any requirements for a certificate of insurance shall be waived by the City if the activity is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the requirement would be so financially burdensome that it would preclude the applicant from using the proposed area for the proposed activity. Fees for equipment and services shall not be waived. Application for a waiver must be in writing and shall include an affidavit by the applicant and sufficient financial information about the applicant to enable the City to determine whether the requirement would be so financially burdensome that it would preclude the applicant from using the property for the proposed activity.

Appeal Process

Any applicant aggrieved by the final decision of the City may seek judicial review in state court by common-law certiorari.