Use of Public Forum

Information Regarding Public Forum Gatherings

What is considered a use of public forum gathering?
A public forum gathering is a planned gathering of fifteen or more people standing or moving along public property. It includes picketing, demonstrations, and processions for religious or civil ceremonies. Unplanned or spontaneous gatherings do not require a permit.

Where can a public forum gathering be held?
On almost any sidewalk in the City, as long as it does not block other pedestrians or endanger folks from stepping into traffic. Gatherings may also be planned in the City’s park spaces and other public property where the gathering would not unreasonably interfere with the operations of that property.

What happens if I have fewer than fifteen people in my gathering? 
A permit is not required. You may get one anyway, if you like, but you may have the gathering without giving the City notice that you are doing so.  

How far in advance do I need to apply? 
For groups of 200 or fewer, you must apply at least two business days in advance. For larger groups, you must apply at least five business days in advance. 

Why might the City deny me a permit? 
Grounds for denial are outlined in the City’s ordinance Sec. 102-42. - Use of city public grounds, places and streets(C) Issuance; grounds for denial. A link to the ordinance has been provided below.

What is a security plan and why would I need one?
A security plan is required when the applicant requests the closure of any public street, when the gathering consists of more than fifty people crossing a street or when the gathering will occur between dusk and dawn. The security plan must address traffic, pedestrian safety, lighting for nighttime events, and other public safety concerns based on the type of gathering. 

What is permitted during a public forum gathering?
Permitted and prohibited activities can be the City’s ordinance Sec. 102-42. - Use of city public grounds, places and streets (f) Permitted and prohibited activities. 

  • After completing, electronically signing and submitting the online application, it will be sent to the Manassas City Police Department for processing
  • Use of public grounds permits are issued by the Police Department. Approved permits are mailed to permittees at the address provided in the application. An electronic copy will be emailed to the email address provided.
  • For more information, contact the Police Department’s Planning and Resource Manager.
 Ph: 703-257-8017 Email Police Department

Important Information:

  • Permittees may be responsible for the costs of public safety services required for their event. The assessment of services needed is based on the needs of the event and is at the discretion of the City. 
  • Permittees that request the closure of a road must have a general liability insurance policy and provide a certificate of insurance to the City of Manassas naming the City as an additional insured. The minimum liability limit requirements for all event organizers of $1,000,000
  • VRSA Tenant User Liability INS Program Brochure   Important: The City of Manassas is not referring the Tenant User Liability Insurance Program (TULIP) but is informing you of an insurance provider that is known to the city.  The intent is to make you aware that coverage is available and the City of Manassas makes no recommendations, guarantees or endorsements regarding the quality of coverage, price or service provided.  The City of Manassas is not affiliated in any way with TULIP and does not receive any type of compensation from your organization securing coverage through the company.

get notified Stay up-to-date on what happening by subscribing below