September 16, 2021
SALT LAKE CITY – Event organizers in Salt Lake City will soon enjoy a more user friendly, streamlined process for applying for special event permits thanks to an expanded partnership between the City and permitting software provider OpenCounter.
From music festivals, block parties, and marathons, to the City’s long-standing popularity as a scenic backdrop for film and television production, the City faces no shortage of interest from people wanting to host a wide range of events within city limits.
The new Special Event Permitting Platform, launched Wednesday, creates a centralized location for receiving, reviewing, and approving new applications and orchestrating cross-departmental review on a large scale. It provides applicants with helpful checklists and timely fee estimates.
“This move to OpenCounter will make event planning much easier and more predictable for our local event organizers,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “Special events, whether large or small, are invaluable for building strong community ties and creating a rich sense of place, and I’m excited to see what new traditions and celebrations this shift will make possible for our City.”
Salt Lake City has seen its population grow 30 percent over the past 20 years, and with this growth has come more demand for special events. In 2019 alone, the City approved more than 400 permits for special events, film production shoots, and demonstrations.
The City currently works with OpenCounter on permit-discovery portals for zoning, business and residential permitting. The City chose to pursue a new portal for special events after gaining feedback from organizers over the years about the City’s largely-manual process.
A City survey sent in October 2019 to organizers of large annual events found that 50 percent of respondents indicated they would like to see changes to the special events permitting process, including a technology update.
Salt Lake City turned to OpenCounter to modernize and streamline the special event permit process.
“I can’t wait to see how OpenCounter’s portal improves the permitting experience for organizers and how much it will minimize processing times on the City’s end. For the applicant to apply and move directly into working on the conditions in a self-service model, rather than waiting for us to manually do it, will accelerate the entire process and alleviate our biggest pressure points,” said Ryen Schlegel, the City’s special event permit manager.
Event permits can be submitted using the new portal https://www.slc.gov/eventpermits/