|On March 26, 2015, a Margarita Festival was held at Northshore Park. The organizer originally requested in December 2015 that the event be held at Town Green Park; however all dates requested were booked by other events and community programs. The organizer was then directed to review the availability of Rob Fleming and Northshore Park, the Township's other Townwide parks. The current Policy and Procedures do not provide staff the ability to not approve the use of a park if the 1) the park is available; 2) the park is suitable for the size and nature of the event; 3) the applicant complies with all the supplemental requirements of the permit - parking, security, insurance, restrooms, etc. The event was issued a permit after staff required significant modifications to the event request which included reducing the event from three days to one day, not approving the request for extended time to tear down and load out after the event until 2:00 a.m., imposing a time cut off of 8:00 p.m. for amplified sound; ensuring that the park remained open to the public and other modifications. The goals of these restrictions were to mitigate the impact of the event on residents, the general park using public and surrounding neighborhoods.
The event organizer submitted all the supplemental requirements not limited to TABC permits, site plans, security ( provided by Houston Police Department officers) parking plans and the contracts and trash management plans. The event producer submitted the expected attendance to 1,000 people which Northshore park can handle based on previous experiences with other events (Ironman, 4th of July, Dragon Boat Races, various fund raising walks, etc.)
On the day of the event there were a number of resident complaints about the loud noise from the park, restricted access to the park by the general public and suitability of the event to the park. Throughout the event staff attempted to work with the event organizers to address sounds level concerns and ensure access to the park by the public. A primary contributing factor to the adverse impact to surrounding homes as the size, location and orientation of the temporary stage erected for the event. This aspect of the event was not fully vetted by staff and should not have been allowed.
In light of this event and as more commercial event producers approach The Woodlands Township to host these for-profit types of events in the park system, the following revisions to the Special Event Policies and Procedures are recommended:
It is believed that the added standards will assist staff in ensuring that the community standards are maintained and that commercial oriented events are limited to the parks that are better suited for these events.
- Criteria for Approval/Disapproval
- The event is reasonably likely to cause injury to persons or property, create a disturbance, cause disorderly conduct or encourage or result in violation of the law or community standards;
- Special Rules and Additional Procedures
- Waterway Square, Village Center and the Hughes Landing Parks are not available for reservations or Special Events other than those produced by, sponsored or co-sponsored by The Woodlands Township and/or The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau.
- Commercial use of the parks for special events (as defined by Order 019-09 Section 2, A, xxi) ,is defined as “person, group, or organization, that makes or attempts to make a profit, vend a service or product, receive money, or obtain goods or services as compensation from participants” is not permitted at neighborhood, area, village or town wide parks. Such events will be reviewed on a case by case basis and limited to the following facilities: Town Green Park, Gosling Sportfields, Bear Branch Sportsfields and Alden Bridge Sports Park.
- The Woodlands Township’s approval of a special event and / or issuance of a park permit does not grant or authorize use of “The Woodlands” trademark, brand or domain name, which is owned by The Woodlands Development Company.