|Upon conducting a Public Hearing on the proposed amendments and changes to Township Order 019-09, 020-09 and the Special Event Policy and Procedures, along with receiving information on the use of amplified sound in the parks, the Board of Directors has the ability to take action on the proposed amendments and changes. For purposes of information, the Background information from the Executive Summary presented in the Public Hearing on this subject is provided again:
The Board of Directors has considered changes to the Special Event Policy and Procedures at several meetings in 2016 discussing certain aspects of specific events and their impact to the community, including most recently at the August 17, 2016 Budget Workshop whereby the Board considered new fees for Special Event Permits. A number of policies and procedures related to events have been discussed and now need to be formally approved. There are three documents that need to be revised:
Each of these documents has been revised to reflect the discussion and direction provided by the Board - changes are highlighted in the attachments.
- Township Order 19-09 (Rules) (Attachment A);
- Township Order 20-09 (Fees) (Attachment B);
- Special Event Policies and Procedures (Attachment C).
Major changes in these documents include:
Overall, the challenges with revising Park Rules, Park Reservation Fees and the Special Event Policies and Procedures and implementing fees for special event permits have the potential for unintended consequences. A challenge with establishing a Special Event Permit Fee (not Park Fees) is that some Non-Profit/Non Resident events (weddings, birthday parties, reunions, corporate picnics,etc.) that exceed 50 in number, and/or have amplified sound, and/or involve alcohol or bounce houses will be required to pay a special event permit fee ($500) in addition to the park reservation fee, when the Board's objective may have been to only limit the impact of large commercial events in Township parks. On average there are several hundred special events in the park system per year, with only 10 to 15 of those being large events and most of them are non-profit fund raisers or community festivals. However, even smaller scale events, even when private, could have adverse impacts to adjacent neighborhoods.
- Township Order 19-09 (Park Rules)
- Defined Commercial Event, Resident, Non- Resident and Non-Profit Organization
- Added under Protection of Enjoyment (2.F.vii)
- Commercial events are not permitted at neighborhood, area, village or town wide parks. Events shall be limited to Town Green Park, Gosling Sportfields, Bear Branch Sportsfields and Alden Bridge Sports Park, upon review and approval of a Special Event Permit Application.
- Township Order 20-09 (Park Fees)
- Town Green Park Commercial
- $2,000 per day (17 hours; Days are not pro-rated)
- Special Event Permits (in addition to Park Fees)
- Commercial Festival- $1,000 per permit
- Non-Profit/Non Resident-$500 per permit
- Special Event Policies and Procedures
- Defined Commercial Events and the limited locations for these types of events
- Added an approval/disapproval standard relating to “community standards “
- Provided guidelines for amplified sound in the parks with a special event permit
- Updated the Event Impact Statement to include:
- No public road or lane shall be closed for more than four (4) hours, except for those events that are Township events and/or have an agreement with The Township.
- Criteria for approval include but are not limited to the following statements:
- Did a run/walk occur in this location/road/pathway in the two weeks?
- Will a run/walk occur in this location/road/pathway next two weeks?
- For this purpose, it should be noted that this means that events could be 14 days apart.
- Ability to work with the event producer on modifications to the event to limit impact to the community
- Added the ability for The Fountains at Waterway Square to be permitted for special events in conjunction with a local hotel hosting a convention (200 room minimum)
- Approval of a Special Event Permit does not grant or authorize use of “The Woodlands” trademark, brand or domain name,
- Identified in bold the following:
- The Woodlands Township President/General Manager (or his designee) has the authority to cancel or stop an event, before or during the event, if the conditions required for approval of the event are not being met. In addition, the President/General Manager and public safety officials have the authority to cancel or stop an event, or place additional restrictions on the event, if it is deemed that the public health, safety, or welfare is being jeopardized and/or would be better served with additional restrictions or requirements.
As the proposed changes to Township Orders and Special Event Policy and Procedures will impact many organizations that have already begun preparations for events in the future, the Board may consider any changes or amendments being effective in six months, thereby giving ample notice to all those concerned.