Film Permits


  • Go to the City's Planning & Permitting Portal -
  • Register/create an account
  • From toolbar at top of screen, click "Apply"
  • From Apply page, type "Film" into search bar
  • Click "Film" permit bar to start application process

Get Help

  • City Staff - Nancy Sands, Management Analyst II, [email protected] or 707-778-4484
  • Petaluma Downtown Association
    • Helps with location scouting, outreach to affected businesses, and suggestions for dining, shopping, lodging, and fun
    • Contact Marie McCusker, Petaluma Downtown Association Executive Director - [email protected] or (707) 762-9348
    • See complete list of requirements and boundary map HERE.
  • Some locations with a Petaluma address are outside the City limits. Visit for contact information for neighboring jurisdictions.

Film Permit Requirements

  • Required for filming, videotaping, photographing or other similar process conducted for the making of motion pictures, television programs, commercial and nontheatrical film productions. See municipal code HERE.
  • Not required for activity related to news reporting or criminal investigations
  • Submit applications 60 days in advance for productions requiring multi-day street closures or City staffing (for example, Police presence or Public Works)
  • Submit applications 30 days in advance for productions that require use of public right of way but no street closures
  • Approval of Petaluma Downtown Association required for filming in the Historic downtown district
  • Application should include:
    • Description of proposed filming activities
    • Locations
    • Proposed parking/street closures
    • Shot list and timeline
  • Fees include a permit fee plus cost recovery fees for any staff time needed above and beyond the permit review process (e.g., Police staff needed for street closures, Public Works staff needed to set up barricades, etc.).
  • Insurance requirements
    1. General Liability:
      • $1,000,000 per occurrence for bodily injury, personal injury and property damage
      • Damage to Rented Premises: $300,000
      • Personal & Advertising Injury: $1,000,000
      • General Aggregate: $2,000,000
      • Products Completed/Operations: $1,000,000
    2. Automobile Liability (Required if autos are used in the activity or event)
    3. Liquor Liability (Required if alcohol will be used or served on set): $1,000,000 for each Common Cause or Occurrence; $1,000,000 Aggregate
    4. The required general liability and automobile policies are to contain, or be endorsed to contain the following provisions: The City of Petaluma, its officers, officials, employees, agents and volunteers are to be covered as Additional Insureds as respects liability arising out of or in any way connected with participation in the Special Event Agreement and program, including injuries or property damage due to the active or passive negligence of the City, its officers, officials, employees, agents, and volunteers.
  • Download Sample Insurance Certificate HERE and Insurance Requirements HERE.

Requirements when Filming Downtown

  • Film companies wishing to film within the membership boundaries of the Historical Business District must obtain clearance from the Petaluma Downtown Association (PDA) prior to submitting a permit application with the City of Petaluma.
  • The PDA will review the proposed shoot, assist the film company with information and location scouting, supply information on the businesses located in the district, and work with the film company to reduce the impact to businesses and community members.
  • See complete list of requirements and boundary map HERE.


Petaluma offers a wide range of architectural styles and settings including

  • Beautiful residences from the 1880s to the present day
  • Vibrant downtown with historical commercial buildings such as theaters, hotels, and retail shops storefronts;
  • Open space and agricultural properties outside the City limits;
  • "Character" buildings such as grain elevators and water towers;
  • Festivals and special events;
  • A raceway and Fairgrounds;
  • Privately owned spaces as well as public right of way;
  • Petaluma River waterfront
  • City Marina and airport

Good planning and generous lead time will help you get the city permits and staffing services you need, and make the experience of filming in Petaluma more enjoyable for everyone. For assistance, please contact Nancy Sands, City of Petaluma Management Analyst, at [email protected].

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