County will require permits for events
LINCOLNTON – Organizers for large community events in Lincoln County will now have to obtain a permit.
Commissioners approved a new special events and mass gatherings ordinance during their meeting on Monday, June 4. The ordinance applies to any public event with more than 300 people that involves fireworks, alcohol, live entertainment, overnight activities, racing or contact sports and those that could significantly affect traffic. Permits will cost $10 for approved events and must be obtained at least 30 days before the event.
The ordinance does not apply to government, school or regular church events.
Assistant County Manager Martha Lide said she’s been working with emergency management personnel and county recreation staff to develop the ordinance over the last 10 months. The permitting process will allow the county to better prepare for the increased number of emergency calls that come from large-scale events.
“It grew because we saw a need to protect the public in big events,” she said. “These (events) were things that first responder personnel needed to be aware of.”
The policy also applies to protests, but the 30-day requirement can be shortened with approval from the county manager.
The county sheriff’s office will now have the authority to shut down events without permits.
Lide said those who do not to get a permit before holding an event will face a $100 fine for the first offense and a $500 fine for subsequent violations.
Commissioners approved the ordinance 4-1 with Commissioner Jim Klein opposing.
The ordinance originally excluded existing events like the Denver-East Lincoln Christmas Parade, Denver Days and July Fourth fireworks events because they already have emergency plans in place. But commissioners Carl Robinson, George Arena and Carrol Mitchem voted against the exceptions.
Arena said he didn’t feel comfortable approving exceptions into the ordinance with no guarantee that the people who organize the events now will always do so.
After approving the ordinance, commissioners also voted 4-1 to approve a schedule of fees which will require applicants to pay for emergency services. If the county determines that an event will require a fire truck on the site, the applicant will have to pay an hourly rate for that truck.
Lide said that commissioners have the authority to waive fees at any time so event organizers can approach the board with a waiver request.
At Monday night’s meeting, commissioners also:
• Held a public hearing on the county’s proposed budget for 2012-13 and set a budget work session for Monday, June 11. Commissioners plan to vote on the final budget June 28.
• Heard from several Westport homeowners about the ongoing problems with vacation rentals.