Avondale Estates special events ordinance lays out requirements for special events permitFILE PHOTO: Stilt walker Sadie Zweben from Bucks Imperial Circus (right) waves to people on the Town Green during Goethe Frühlingsfest in Avondale Estates on Saturday, March 18, 2023. Photo by Dean Hesse.
Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission is considering a special events ordinance, which aims to place some guidelines on events held in public spaces and require a permit for some events.
The city commission held the first reading of the ordinance on Oct. 25 and is expected to vote on the ordinance on Nov. 8.
“It puts some formal guidelines around people that would hold special events in the city, whether it be at the Town Green, whether it be at Willis Park or any of the other areas,” Mayor Pro Tem Brian Fisher said at the Oct. 25 city commission meeting. “I think it’s a good thing to formalize what that process needs to be, so that it’s consistent for anyone that asks.”
The draft ordinance facilitates and coordinates the review of special events within the city.
“This chapter focuses on public safety and adherence to local, state and federal laws and provides for special event public safety equipment, event sanitation and health, medical care and fire rescue, law enforcement, public safety event plans and traffic management plans and other city services,” the ordinance states.
A special event is defined as a gathering of 50 people or more, and includes the restricted or exclusive use of any portion of public property, or requires a street closure, or requires one or more city services in connection with the gathering, according to the ordinance.
Anyone wishing to hold, sponsor or promote a special event would have to apply for a special event permit with the city manager and pay an administrative fee. The application would have to be received at least 60 days before the event date.
The ordinance also allows for exemptions for events hosted by the city, an event on private property, and a funeral procession. These events would not require a special events permit.
During public comment on Oct. 25, resident Philip Feibish wondered if the special events ordinance would apply to a resident who holds a party with 50 people at their home. Bryant said the ordinance is only governing public spaces.
“We don’t have the right to govern how many people show up on a private property,” Bryant said.
Feibish also wondered about the street parking that would happen for a private event, and if that would trigger the ordinance.
Bryant added the city doesn’t need to clarify the ordinance to add language about public property. The ordinance does provide definitions of public property and public right of way.
“It’s fine how it is because if public parking is allowed on the street, public parking is allowed on the street,” Bryant said. “If public parking is not allowed on the street, then this ordinance wouldn’t govern that anyway. It would just be space where parking is prohibited.”
The ordinance also outlines reasons why a special event permit could be denied, which includes an event causing an unduly burden on city services, unreasonably disrupting the flow of traffic where traffic cannot be rerouted, and taking place at the same time and location as a previously approved event.
Some fees for renting spaces, like the Town Green, are outlined in the ordinance as well. The Town Green is split into four rental areas – the market pavilion and plaza, stage and amphitheater, event lawn and the entire Town Green. Here is the fee break down:
Town Green Rental Fees
1. $1,000 – Market Pavilion and Plaza
2. $1,500 – Stage and Amphitheater
3. $3,000 – Event Lawn
4. $5,000 – Entire Town Green
Fees would also be applied for fee closures at $50 per block per hour for local streets and sidewalks, $150 per block per hour, plus a state permit for state roads, $20 per public parking space per eight hour periods.
The city establishes fees by comparing the fees to other municipalities, City Manager Patrick Bryant said in response to a resident’s question.
“The fees are designed to recover costs incurred, not to generate any profit,” Bryant said.
To read the draft ordinance, click here.
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