Film Permits in Monterey County
What you need to know to film on-location in Monterey County
Monterey County encompasses a vast area including 12 incorporated cities, a large amount of unincorporated county land, state parks and U.S. Forest Service property, and privately-controlled areas. Although each jurisdiction handles its own film permit procedures directly, all require the following
- certificate of insurance for a minimum of $1 million naming the jurisdiction (and its officers, agents and employees) as additionally insured
- a written locations breakdown or description
- signature of an authorized representative
- payment in advance of the project
Permits are easily obtainable in most areas of Monterey County and most cities comply with the California State Film Commission's model permit. Most jurisdictions request a five day minimum lead time or longer if the project requires full street closures, pyrotechnics or major special effects. For filming taking place entirely on private property, no additional permit is needed.
On the following pages are the contact names, phone numbers, fee ranges and any special requirements of the most often filmed areas within Monterey County. Please call or email the Monterey County Film Commission at 831-646-0910 in advance of any filming to register the project, receive filming guidelines and tips, and to be advised of any changes in the following information.
The Monterey County Film Commission does not issue permits, but we are happy to help direct you to the appropriate jurisdictions which you’ll find listed below.
State of California Permits
Filming on California state property and state roads requires permit registration through the California Film Commission
Contact: California Film Commission
Phones: 800-858-4749 or 323-860-2960
Fax: 323-860-2976 or 323-860-2972
7080 Hollywood Blvd, Suite 900
Hollywood, CA 90028
Current Production Alerts:
Roads: David Booth, Caltrans Permit Coordinator (ext.104)
State Parks: Catherine Adamic (ext. 107) for Northern California, Helene Dervishian, State Parks Coordinator for Southern California (ext. 106)
Buildings and Facilities: Catherine Adamic, (ext. 107)
CHP: Officer Miguel D. Luevano, California Highway Patrol Liaison (ext. 103)
Location/Librarian Specialist: Lisa Mosher (ext. 123)
Fees: No location fees. $140 review fee for Caltrans and hourly charges if necessary for rangers. Fees vary based on activity.
Roads: All Caltrans permits are issued through the California Film Commission (CFC). Highway One in Big Sur is a state road.
Please note that Caltrans District 5 restricts film activities that include traffic control on Highway One from Carmel Highlands south into San Luis Obispo County during the summer. The moratorium is in effect between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. Questions on the policy may be directed to Steven Senet, 805-549-3206.
For California Highway Patrol support, contact the CHP Film Media Relations Officer at the CFC. The Monterey County CHP contact is officer Mario Domalaog, 831-455-4800.
State Parks: Contact the local state parks rangers to get initial approval of film activity. The final permit is issued through the California Film Commission State Parks coordinator listed above (Catherine Adamic (ext. 107) for Northern California).
Monterey area: Parks including Pt Lobos State Reserve, Carmel River State Beach, Monastery Beach and Middle Beach, and north county state parks.
Contact: Fleccia Wilson
Asilomar State Beach and Monterey Historic Parks:
Contact: Eric Abma
Big Sur area: Parks including Andrew Molera State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Pt. Sur State Park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
Contact: Kathy Searl
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Contact: Matt Khalar
Fees: varied fees depending on activities, including monitors
Monterey County Permits
Monterey County permits are required for filming on county roads, county buildings or in the unincorporated areas of Monterey County. Projects taking place within incorporated city limits, military areas or on private property do not require a separate permit through Monterey County.
Monterey County Sheriff's Dept.: 831-647-7702; Cmdr. Vincent Hernandez
Fax: 831-647-7891 or 831-647-7888
(Address: 1200 Aguajito Rd., Monterey 93940)
Department of Public Works: Dennis Esteban, 831-755-4930
(Address: 312 E. Alisal, Salinas, CA 93901)
Fees: $100/permit payable to the Monterey County Sheriff's Dept. plus
$300/permit payable to Monterey County Public Works for any project filming on county roads. (Two separate checks need to be written to the above agencies). $200+ for county-owned buildings
Special requirements: Clearance for film projects needs to be handled through the County Sheriff's Office. If the lead time is short (5 days or less), and the project involves filming on county roads, then the film company should simultaneously contact the Department of Public Works for confirmation.
Monterey County Parks: Includes Lake San Antonio, Lake Nacimiento, Jack's Peak, Toro Park, San Lorenzo Park, Royal Oaks, Manzanita, and Laguna Seca (excluding racetrack-- see below)
Contact: Lavonne Chin, 831-759-7214
855 E. Laurel Drive, Bldg. G, Salinas, CA 93905
Fees: Vary by park site from $250 to $1,500 per day; damage deposit may be required.
Special Requirements: Application form. For Mazda Raceway, go to “Other Local Permits”
Individual City Permits
City of Marina
Fees: Depends upon use of city resources.
Special Requirements: A written description of project details, dates times, story board, etc. Request is at least three (3) weeks in advance. Processing time is contingent upon film project. Road closures, pyrotechnics, special effects or temporary closure of facilities may require longer processing lead-time.
City of Monterey
Fees: $350 to $1,000 per day, depending on type and scope of project. Other fees may apply. Special fee arrangements can be made for multiple day filming. Permit fees waived for student and most documentary projects, and special consideration given to promotional and tourism projects.
Special requirements: Permit processing time contingent upon film project requirements. Road closures, pyrotechnics, special effects and other elements may require longer processing times.
Harbor Area Filming, contact Monterey Harbormaster, Steve Scheiblauer, 831-646-3950
Contact: Pacific Grove Police Dept. Cmdr John P. Miller
580 Pine Ave., Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Fees: Depends on city resources and location
Contact: Carmel Community Activities and Recreation,
Cindi Lopez, Carmel Recreation Dept.
Police Corporal Steve Rana
Fees: $150 per permit
Special requirements: Projects involving some ITC and full street closures require a lengthy lead time (up to 30 days). Parking of production vehicles in downtown Carmel may need to be limited near production site due to parking constraints. “Off-season” (non-summer months and non-holiday weekends) is best time for filming in Carmel.
Fees: Depends upon use of city resources
Special requirements: Processing time is contingent upon film project. Road closures, pyrotechnics, special effects or temporary closure of facilities may require longer processing lead time.
The following cities have generally adopted the State's model permit process.
Contact the City Manager's Office at the following numbers:
Del Rey Oaks: 831-394-8511
King City: 831-385-3281
Sand City: 831-394-1451
Seaside: 831-899-6737, www.ci.seaside.ca.us
Other Local Permits
U.S. Forest Service
For permits on US Forest Service properties (i.e. Pfeiffer Beach, Sand Dollar Beach, Brazil Ranch, etc.), follow the US Forest Service website: www.r5.fs.fed.us/lospadres Then go the Event/Commercial Permits button; then go to Southern California National Forests Film Request; and proceed to the listing for Los Padres contact Polly Popola. (805-925-9538).
Completed permit requests to go Polly Popola for review. She needs a minimum of seven days due to short-staffed situation and need for monitors for shoots.
Monterey Peninsula Airport
200 Fred Kane Drive, #200, Monterey, CA 93940
Fees: Various permit or licensing rates
Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca
Contact: Judy Varley
Fees: $6,000+ daily for exclusive track; $900+ daily for paddock area only. Weekend rates higher. Other fees apply.
Special requirements: Special rental permit form; $5-million minimum insurance; damage deposit; specific safety requirements.
Contact: Ryan Pierce
Fees: $3,000 - $50,000 depending on property (i.e., hotel, golf course, 17-Mile Drive, etc.)
Special requirements: A written description of project details, dates, times, storyboard, etc. is requested at least three weeks in advance. Filming requests for weekends and summer months are difficult to grant due to high tourist season. Permit fees waived for most promotional/tourism projects. Some product categories restricted due to sponsorship fulfillments.
Contact: Linda McIntyre, Harbor Master
Coastal Aerial Filming
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) and the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) prohibit aerial flights under 1,000 feet from the mouth of the Carmel River south to Cambria, which encompasses the Big Sur coastline.
Aerial overflights are also prohibited over the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and in the waters offshore of Moss Landing, due to the sensitivity of the marine and bird life in the area.
Special use permits may be obtained in some cases, however, by applying for permits with as much lead time as possible from both MBNMS & CDFG. More permit information can be found on the MBNMS website.
Permits must be submitted to both:
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
California Department of Fish and Game
Contact: Monterey Office Lieutenant / Don Kelly
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey County has several properties that are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Military. These include the Presidio of Monterey, parts of Ft. Ord, Ft. Hunter Liggett, the Naval Postgraduate School and U.S. Coast Guard.
Any project depicting the military that takes place on location at one of Monterey County's sites must be first cleared through the appropriate film liaison office in Los Angeles. The contacts are:
U.S. Army: 310-235-7621
U.S. Navy: 310-235-7481
U.S. Coast Guard: 310-235-7817
Projects not depicting the military, but using the site only as a location, may be handled through local contacts including:
Naval Postgraduate School: John Sanders, 831-656-3346
U.S. Coastguard: Operations Officer, 831-647-7312
U.S. Army: All projects must first be cleared through the U.S. Army film liaison office for approval to shoot. On site contacts include:
Presidio of Monterey: Public Affairs Office
Presidio of Monterey, CA 93944-5006
Ft. Hunter Liggett: Public Affairs Office
Phone: 831-386-2605, Fax: 831-386-2606
National Guard: Camp Roberts: Public Affairs Office
Phone: 805-238-8308, Fax: 805-238-8306
Former Fort Ord
Much of former military installation at Ft. Ord has been turned over to civilian entities including the bordering cities of Seaside and Marina. Contact the Monterey County Film Commission to obtain the current status of particular locations and permit procedures.
Key contacts for former Fort Ord property include:
Fort Ord Reuse Authority
Stan Cook, 831-883-3672
Bureau of Land Management
Rick Hanks, 831-630-5029
City of Marina
City of Seaside
Cal State University Monterey Bay
Joan Weiner, 831-582-3653