Special Event Permits

What is a Special Event? 

A special event is any activity or use that is not subject to a permit pursuant to Northbrook’s Zoning Code or a license pursuant to Northbrook’s Municipal Code, and either:

  1. Requires the use or assistance of, or imposes an impact on, any village property, equipment, or personnel to an extent greater than is customary in the ordinary course of daily village business;
  2. Involves the use of or impact on village streets or sidewalks in a manner that would exceed normal use or travel on such streets or sidewalks
  3. Is an outdoor event that will be open to the general public (i.e. sidewalk or tent sale, or holiday light shows).
  4. Involves a gathering of more than 100 people, other than gatherings at a religious congregation or other place designed and intended for assembly purposes and permitted under the village zoning code;

 Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following public gatherings or assemblies shall not be considered a special event:

  1. Residential block parties.
  2. Organized, nonpermanent gatherings which take place only on Park District property or nonpermanent residential gatherings on private property or properties and only use the public way for normal vehicular or pedestrian travel from one location to another without impeding other vehicular or pedestrian traffic or other normal activity. However, all events are expected to follow the Village’s Notification Policy and Special Event Security Policy.
  3. Any Federal or State Government Official visit or appearance that is for official business and is open to the public.  
  4. Any visit or appearance by a notable person that is for official business and is open to the public. 

The following shall be considered a special event:

  1. Parades, or processions of any kind, which move from place to place upon public property along a specified route.
  2. All festivals, amusements, fairs, farmers markets, carnivals, and circuses, including those on private property.
  3. Any event requesting street closures (other than block parties), parking lot closures, and/or police presence.

Notice of Party, Meeting or Gathering

If your party, meeting or gathering does not meet the special event definition above, you may still need to submit a Notice of Party, Meeting, or Gathering to the Northbrook Police Department. This Notice is required for scheduled parties, meetings or gatherings at which attendance by more than 75 people and/or the anticipated performance of an outdoor musical group consisting of three or more people. 

Navigating the Application Process

Special event applications and materials can be entirely submitted online through the portal below. Depending on your specific event, one or more forms may be necessary. 

Special event organizers requesting road closures or a public safety presence should be prepared to meet with Village staff to review event details. 

Before you submit your application, please be prepared to submit the following:

  • Detailed Event Description 
  • Event Site Plan 
  • Emergency Action Plan, in compliance with the Special Event Security Policy
  • Waste Management Plan, describe how you intend to manage and dispose of trash and recyclable materials in order to maintain a clean space throughout the duration of the event.  
  • Parking Plan, clearly indicate where event participants and staff will park for the duration of the event, the flow of traffic, and any requested no parking postings, and a description of how event organizers will manage parking needs the day of the event.
  • Notification Plan, description below
  • Indoor Event Checklist, if applicable 
  • Outdoor Event Checklistif applicable 
  • Tent Safety ChecklistTents (structure with sides) that are 400 sq ft and larger require the tent checklist/approval. Canopies (structure with no sides) that are 700 sq ft or larger require a tent checklist/approval. 
  • Temporary Food Permitif applicable 

Special Event Application Opens in new window

Special Event Notification Policy 

In an effort to keep community members fully informed of all events that may impact their area, the Village enforces the below notification policy.

  1. An explanation of your notification plan, including postcard or flyer templates when applicable, must be submitted to the Village Manager’s Office for approval at least 12 weeks prior to your event date.
  2. A least two weeks prior to the event, the event organizer must notify any and all establishments that will be blocked, detoured, or heavily inconvenienced, about their event, associated road closures and other impacts.
  3. Village staff may require additional notices on a case-by-case basis.
  4. Each notification must include the following information:
    1. Name of Event
    2. Date/Timeframe of event
    3. Event Description
    4. Description & map of road closures (if applicable)
    5. Detailed map of parking options for both bicycles and vehicles 
    6. Name, email address, and phone number of event organizer
    7. Website associated with event (if applicable)
    8. Written proof of compliance with above policy.  

Special Event Security Policy

Event organizers must be prepared to provide a safe and secure environment for your event. While each event has its own unique aspects and features the Village enforces the below security policy.

It is vital for special event organizers to provide a safe and secure environment for the event. This is accomplished through detailed pre-planning by anticipating potential problems and concerns related to the event’s activities and surrounding environment and being prepared to react during the event to any unanticipated problems. 

The Village Manager, or their designee, will review each special event application and on a case-by-case basis may require that event organizers provide security to ensure a reasonably safe and secure environment for the duration of the event. While the Village’s preference is for private security to be contracted, organizers may request to reserve Northbrook Police Officers. See Village fee ordinance for hourly rates.      

All special events, including those conducted by the village and park district, are required to submit an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) during the application process. This plan should identity emergency exits, crowd managers, emergency notification methods, and how organizers will deal with weather related incidents and emergencies. Village staff will review each plan and make recommendations.

Green Event Checklist

In accordance with the Village’s Climate Action Plan, the Village encourages event organizers to employ environmentally sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint.  While not required, the green event checklist seeks to make community events more environmentally friendly.

Questions about the Special Event Permit Process? 

Contact the Village at specialevents@northbrook.il.us

Temporary Liquor License 

If your event requires a temporary liquor license, contact the Village Clerk at debbie.ford@northbrook.il.us

Conducting a Raffle without an Event?

Submit the raffle license application to specialevents@northbrook.il.us