Filming in Carpinteria

Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need to obtain a film permit?

If you film inside the city limits of Carpinteria you will most likely need a film permit.

When am I exempt from obtaining a film permit?

  1. Filming activities conducted for news purposes as defined in Section 5.72.020;
  2. Filming activities conducted at studios as defined in Section 5.72.020;
  3. Filming activities conducted for use in a criminal investigation or civil or criminal court proceeding;
  4. Noncommercial filming activities conducted on private property solely for private or family use;
  5. Commercial still photography or staging thereof, when conducted to the exclusion of any other filming activity as defined in Section 5.72.020 when the following conditions apply:
    1. The still photography, or staging thereof, will not be conducted on city property;
    2. The still photography, or staging thereof will not require the parking of more than two motor vehicles on any public street within the city;
  6. Filming activities conducted by or for the city. (Ord. 453 § 1 (part), 1989)

When should I contact the City of Carpinteria for permitting?

As soon as you start to plan for your project, in the City of Carpinteria, you should give the Community Development Department a call. Although the permitting process requires 2-5 days for permit review, we encourage early planning for projects that may require street closure, pyrotechnics, park or city property use, or large scale filming. Some projects may require permits from other departments or government agencies that may require longer permit processes.

What is the turn-around time for permits?

Complete applications for a film permit must be filed with the film development office a minimum of two business days in advance of the date the film activity is to begin, except that of an application for a permit which includes street closures, stunts or pyrotechnics which must be filed a minimum of five business days in advance of the first day of filming.

Applicants are encouraged to submit applications at the earliest advance date possible in order to facilitate coordination between city departments.

Where is the Film Permit processed?

City of Carpinteria – Community Development Department.  Contact the Planning Department at (805) 755-4451 or e-mail

Where can I find the Film Permit Application?

The Film Permit Application can be found on the main City of Carpinteria website on the Film Permit & Related Forms webpage – or contact the City planning staff at (805) 755-4451, and we would be happy to fax or email the application to you.

Can a permit be denied?

Yes, a permit can be denied or conditioned by the Community Development Department or City Manager.

Permits can be denied for any of the following reasons:

  • The filming activity will substantially disrupt the use of a street at a time when it is usually subject to traffic congestion, or interfere with the operation of emergency vehicles in the proposed permit area.
  • The location of the filming activity will substantially interfere with street maintenance work, or a previously authorized excavation permit.
  • The proposed permit location is on city property and the filming activity will substantially interfere with other previously authorized activities, contracts or safety of the public or employees while on city property.
  • The proposed permit location is on city property and the filming activity will substantially interfere with municipal functions or the scheduled maintenance of city buildings or grounds.
  • The filming activity creates a substantial risk of injury to persons or damage to property.
  • The applicant failed to complete the application after being requested to do so, or the information contained in the application is found to be false in any material detail.
  • The particular filming activity would violate federal, state or local law including licensing or permit requirements.
  • If a permit is denied, can the permit be altered to meet the needs of the City?

Yes, when the grounds for permit denial can be corrected by imposing reasonable permit conditions, the film development office may impose such conditions rather than denying the permit.

What type of conditions might my permit be held to?

Permit conditions are based on the specific project description and location of filming. Conditions may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Parking restrictions
  • Required monitoring or supervision by City staff or authorized support person supervision by Sheriff or other security personal
  • Posting of “No-Parking”, “No Entry” or other special signage or safety mitigation
  • Post of boundary or fencing
  • Clean-up or other mitigation measures
  • Lighting and or noise limitations
  • Time or Length of filming (example: filming that requires street closure may be limited to off-peak traffic hours 10:am-11:30 and 1:30pm-4:00pm)
  • Limitation on beach or park usage during weekends
  • Restrictions on the use of City name or logo
  • Changes or alteration of the permit after issuance

What are the fees for my Film Permit?

  • The Tier 1 permit is $210 per day
  • The Tier 2 permit is a deposit of $640
  • Permit Fees DO NOT include fees due to damage, staff time in regards to supervision, security, Sheriff staff, Fire District Staff, etc…
  • Fees are non-refundable after the start of filming

Can I film at the Beach, Bluffs, or Marsh?

Maybe. Many of the areas of scenic and natural beauty surrounding Carpinteria are not actually under the jurisdiction of the City of Carpinteria. Some of the beaches are state or county properties, the Marsh is owned by various agencies, and the Bluffs are both privately and publicly owned. Local beaches are home to a colony of Harbor Seals. The Seal Rookery is Federally Protected and the beach where the rookery is located is closed from December 1 through May 31 each year. The seals are to have a buffer of 750 feet to either side of the colony, which is not to be crossed by pedestrians, vehicles or other disturbing noises. Special permits are to be gained from NOAA, if the area near the seals will be used for filming, work or other activities that may disturb the seals in ANY way. Please contact the City of Carpinteria prior to any activity that will be near this area of beach.