Events in Depot Plaza are nothing new, but the policy that governs when and how often they occur may soon be.
The Parks and Recreation Commission plans to update what it considers “overly restrictive” regulations at a study session during its regular meeting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall.
Under the current ordinance:
- Events may have no more than 50 participants
- Six amplified music events per year
- Event times restricted to 12 p.m. — 4 p.m.
However, the city hasn't exactly enforced those rules, according to the Recreation Director Jenny Rogers.
“In recent years, the Parks and Recreation Commission has not adhered to these restrictions as they have become outdated and out-of-step with the community’s desire for increased engagement with local events in the Plaza, and the need during the recent economic downturn, to support local businesses who are the lifeblood of the economic vitality of the town and its downtown corridor,” Rogers wrote.
The new ordinance would:
- Eliminate the attendance cap of 50 people per event
- Increase the cap on live amplified events with amplified restrictions placed in the rules and regulations policy
- Change the time constraints on allowable amplified events from 12 p.m. — 4 p.m. to 11 a.m. — 8 p.m.
A previous attempt to change the rules in 2011 set off a debate in town. Some residents said the plaza should be open to events like flea markets and farmers markets, while others rejected the idea, saying the city shouldn't alter the existing ordiance that calls it "a park primarily for uses by the general public on a casual, unstructured basis.”
At the time, Parks and Rec held three public meetings, mailed notices to more than 80 property owners and businesses, and incorporated much of the public feedback into a new policy that was presented to the City Council at its January 17, 2012 meeting, Rogers said.
“City Council had a number of excellent suggestions at its meeting last January that staff has attempted to incorporate into this latest revision draft,” Rogers wrote.
Approved uses for the past four years:
- 2012: 14 approved events, 9 with amplified music/sound
- 2011: 11 approved events, 8 with amplified music/sound
- 2010: 14 approved events, 9 with amplified music/sound
- 2009: 11 approved events, 7 with amplified music/sound
Annual events on the Plaza include:
- The Art Commission’s Summer Concert Series
- Comedy Night and Paint Off
- The Chamber of Commerce’s Wine and Gourmet Festival
Along with special events by local organizations including:
- The Bloom-A-Thon
- Business Advisory Board
- Dipsea Foundation
- Mill Valley Film Festival
- Mountain Play
- Tam High Music Boosters
- Youth Give
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