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October 8, 2013

Moratorium sets 2014 festival schedule

TRAVERSE CITY — City commissioners adopted a festival moratorium that likely has set the summer festival schedule for the Open Space in 2014.

Commissioners exempted three festival reservations the city has already received from the temporary moratorium they adopted Monday. The National Cherry Festival and the Traverse City Film Festival operate outside of the city’s festival policy and are also exempt from the moratorium.

Commissioners noted the city hadn’t received any major complaints about the three festivals in the past: Taste of Traverse City for June 7-8; Paella in the Park and Great Lakes Celebration Aug. 13-17, and the Traverse Tall Ships Festival Sept. 18-22.

“That’s why I’m leaning in favor because these three events have not been the complaints I get at 11 o’clock at night,” said Mayor Michael Estes.

Commissioners decided to adopt the moratorium while they revisit their noise-ordinance and year-old park use policy to address citizen complaints about noise, the cheap cost to rent the Open Space, trash and the number of festivals. They also decided not to address the issue until a new commission takes office following the Nov. 5 election.

The three festival reservations would coincide with city staff’s recommendation to limit use of the Open Space for major events to once a month over the summer.

Commissioner Barbara Budros said exempting the three festivals basically reserves the Open Space for all of 2014. She voted against the moratorium with exemptions.

“I’ve heard from lots and lots of people that one of the problems is they want the Open Space open,” Budros said.

Commissioner Mary Ann Moore also voted against the moratorium because the reservations tied the hands of the future commission if it wants to restrict any dates.

Commissioners did clarify that the three festivals will be subject to any new rules the city commission might adopt to address trash, noise, or rent costs.

Estes said a new policy can address the majority of residents’ festival concerns.

Budros called the policy solution “ludicrous.”

“We tried that before under our policy and weren’t very successful,” she said.

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