TRAVERSE CITY — City commissioners will consider a moratorium on Open Space festivals and revisit downtown food vendors in one of their last meetings prior to the city election.
Commissioners delayed any permanent action regarding festivals until a new commission is seated in November, but their short-term solution of a moratorium created a quandary. Three festival promoters submitted applications for 2014 and more applications could be received prior to Monday’s 7 p.m. meeting at the Governmental Center.
Commissioner Jim Carruthers said the city should honor applications submitted under existing rules.
“I’m going to support going forward with all of those who have already applied,” Carruthers said. “If we felt a moratorium was necessary, we should have done it last week.”
City commissioners ultimately may make significant changes to its park rules regarding costs, frequency, trash and noise. When a promoter submits an application shouldn’t determine which rules they operate under, Mayor Michael Estes said.
“You can’t say that everyone who has an application in is automatically granted,” Estes said. “I want to come up with a solution that is fair to everybody and not dependent on bogus dates.”
Requests so far include Taste of Traverse City for June 7-8; Paella in the Park and Great Lakes Celebration Aug. 13-17, and the Tall Ships Festival Sept. 18-22.
Commissioner Michael Gillman said he wants to hear from promoters about the potential impacts a delay may have on their events, especially if the new commission can’t made a decision until January or February.
Gillman and Commissioner Mary Ann Moore will step down in November, and Commissioner Jody Bergman is up for re-election. Commissioners have begun putting off any major decisions until the new commission takes office in November. Carruthers expects that may be the case with a request to extend the hours of operations for mobile food vendors on private property.
Commissioners on Monday will receive a report on the implementation of its new mobile food vendors ordinance. The report said there have been no major problems and doesn’t recommend changes.
Carruthers said he’s been approached by some vendors about extending hours of operation on private property beyond 11 p.m., but he may wait until November to raise the question.
“Because other commissioners may say, ‘If there’s nothing wrong why make any changes,’” Carruthers said.
Both Gillman and Estes said they’d be open to extending hours for private property and generally have been pleased with the first summer in which mobile food vendors were allowed downtown.
“I’m delighted; everything has worked out great,” Estes said. “There were no issues whatsoever, and I have no issue with extending hours on private property.”