|In July of 2013, the Board of Directors adopted the Special Event Policy and Procedures which stipulates Board approval is required for special event permits for certain types of events that may have an impact to the community and surrounding neighborhoods. Since that time, the Board has considered revisions to the Policy and Procedures and amendments to Township Order 019-09. The revisions include a requirement that events using the public roads can be permitted if no other event using the same public roads has been scheduled two weeks before or two weeks after the requested event date.
As special events such as athletic races and fund raising walks require many months to plan, Township staff has advised the organizations making applications for special event permits that they must comply with the pending new policies and procedures.
The Heart Walk (THW) submitted an application on January 14, 2016, for a fundraising walk to be held November 12, 2016 with a route that begins and ends at the Aon Hewitt campus and utilizes pathways and roadways around Aon Hewitt & Hughes Landing including Lake Front Cir. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) submitted an application on May 3, 2016, for a fundraising walk to be held on the same day, November 12, 2016, with a route that a portion thereof would use the same pathways and road - Lake Front Cir. The Heart Walk estimates 2,000 people will participate; JDRF estimates 3,000 people will participate.
As THW submitted their application first, staff advised JDRF that they must select a different date, at least two weeks before or two weeks after; or limit the route of the walk to private property, The Woodlands United Methodist Church, the host site of the event.
Thank you for your message Megan. As I’m sure you know, planning a Walk for a few thousand people takes many steps and involves many parties. When we met back in May (thank you again for letting us walk in), we discussed specific steps our organization needed to take to complete the process. At the time, the Traffic Control Plan was something new that wasn't required in the past and our biggest hurdle. We contracted an engineering firm and took care of this request along with the other paper work that was required. Currently, we are in the final steps of waiting on Rick Wong to approve the plan so we can present it to the Township. We have several concerns regarding your email. I listed a few concerns below:
- The Walk is only a few months away. At this point, it would be impossible for us to change the date considering our walkers, sponsors, facility availability.
- We are not sure that our venue (The Woodlands United Methodist Church) would even be willing or able to let us use your proposed route. They are a generous community church and always have other groups on the grounds for different reasons.
- We followed all of the rules that were in place at the time.
- We incurred a very expensive bill to contract the engineering firm because we were told this had to be done. We are raising money for research and quality of life so every dollar counts?
I completely understand that you have a new procedure but given the lengthy process of planning and organizing that started almost a year ago AND the walk is only a couple of months away, I would hope you or the Board would consider starting this new process at the beginning of next year before organizations begin the planning process.
We have Board members, sponsors, corporations, volunteers, patients, parents and the list goes on in your community banking on this walk to get us closer to our mission. We are proud of the fact that the funds raised directly impact your community. We would like to request a meeting with you and Angel regarding our 5th Annual One Walk in the Woodlands. If we can meet next week sometime, that would be great.
The "two-week before / two-week after" requirement has not been officially adopted. However, staff has been administering the Policy and Procedures under the premise that the new requirements will be adopted, as there are many organizations that schedule events a year in advance and have submitted Special Event Permit Applications.
The Board of Directors may consider allowing JDRF and THW events to occur on the same day on the public roads or require JDRF (or even THW) to select other dates or venues and routes so that there is no overlapping impact to traffic on the same day or within the two-week time periods. Even though THW submitted their application before JDRF, the Board may require THW to propose another route and direct staff to work with either organization to develop routes that do not use the same routes on the same day.
A Special Event Permit Application has been received: JDRF One Walk (attached)
Date: November 12, 2016
Description: A walk/run starting at The Woodlands United Methodist Church parking lot heading north to Lake Front Circle, a portion of the Lake Front Circle would be closed to allow participants to walk/run along the east and westbound lanes; route would turn back into The Woodlands United Methodist Church from Lake Front Circle.
Location: The Woodlands United Methodist Church
Number of years: 5th year.
Area Impacted: Panther Creek/Town Center
Known events at Park / Community: The annual Heart Walk also submitted a Special Event Application for that same date and occurs in the same location. The Heart Walk Submitted their application four months before JDRF. Currently the Heart Walk has proposed to use Lake Front Circle for a portion of their walk. Heart Walk would use Aon Hewitt Parking lot along with various pathways around the area.
Time: 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Anticipated Attendance: 3,000
Traffic Control Plan: Is required and has been approved by County. See communication with Montgomery County.
Per Board direction, pending official approval of the changes to the Special Event Permit Policies and Procedures, events do not require Board approval if they are more than two weeks between major events using the same road/pathway in the community. As this is not the case, this matter is being forwarded to the Board for consideration.