Traverse City Record-Eagle

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November 16, 2013

City ponders new festival restrictions

TRAVERSE CITY — The cost for festival promoters to use the Open Space and other city parkland could more than quadruple under proposed fees that are part of potential new park policy.

Fees could hit $9,800, plus the cost of a police officer who would act as ombudsman for a two-day festival, based on a recommendation from city staffers. That would-be fee compares with about $1,500 in fees for a similar festival under current city rules.

City commissioners will consider fees, a stricter noise ordinance, and a four-festival limit at the Open Space during the summer when they meet Monday at 7 p.m. in the Governmental Center.

“There’s a lot of good things, but it’s not going nearly far enough,” said new city Commissioner Ross Richardson. “I think it needs a lot more work than what’s been done.”

The recommended policy would do the following:

n Limit Open Space use for festivals to once in June and once in August, in addition to the National Cherry Festival and Traverse City Film Festival.

n Reduce set-up and removal time for festivals from six to three days.

n Ban park use for major or high-impact events on Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends and for three days during the Fourth of July, though the Cherry Festival is exempt.

n Charge promoters from $800 to $2,000 for additional trash pickup along the bayfront and downtown.

n Assign a police officer as an ombudsman for all festivals to ensure compliance with permit rules.

Richardson wants the policy to better address parking and driving on grass; the use of generators, which ads to noise and visual pollution, and better regulations of commercial vendors and their signage. He also wants to take a closer look at the proposed fee structure.

“It’s a fairly significant jump, but whether it’s enough or not I don’t know,” he said.

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