Opponents of Nevada County’s proposed outdoor event ordinance delivered petitions to the Board of Supervisors office Thursday morning.
But the number of names, signatures and addresses of those listed on the petition was not yet clear.
County employees at the Board of Supervisors office confirmed they had received a one-inch thick bound document stating 4,911 names of people in opposition to the ordinance were inside. Office staff said the packet included a list of names and ZIP codes of the parties, but it was unclear how many actual signatures were included. Six pages with each bearing an average of 40 signatures were included, said Donna Landi, clerk of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors.
Landi said the documents will be scanned and then presented to the supervisors.
A news release issued by the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce Thursday stated the petition bears 5,000 signatures of Nevada County residents and local business leaders opposed to the outdoor events ordinance.
“Public opinion is mounting in opposition to a proposed Nevada County ordinance that opponents say would impose severe restrictions on outdoor weddings,” the release states. “On Thursday, petitions bearing 5,000 signatures of Nevada County residents and local business leaders opposed to the outdoor events ordinance were delivered to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. After forming Citizens for a Vibrant Economy (http://www.cfve-nc.org/), residents and business people began marshaling support to oppose the ordinance, which they say is harmful to Nevada County’s economy.”
Nevada City’s Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead role in opposing the ordinance, including the funding of an advertising campaign to voice its opposition.
“The proposed county outdoor events ordinance is ill-conceived and poorly researched legislation that will damage Nevada County’s economy if enacted,” Cathy Whittlesey, executive director of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, said in the release. “Our county’s 500 weddings a year — mostly outdoor events — bring $80,000 each to our local economy.”
The news release states those figures are from a survey of local businesses providing wedding services for western Nevada County.
“That’s a $40 million loss if this restrictive measure passes,” Whittlesey said.
Each wedding guest spends $300 locally on lodging and meals, according to Whittlesey.
“More than 80 percent of those who marry here, and who attend weddings here, are from out of town,” she said. “It’s a form of tourism our supervisors ignored.”
The release claims the ordinance is the result of a few complaints about outdoor music parties, and that the ordinance calls for a conditional use permit for a wedding, requiring flush toilets.
The big draw in Nevada County is rural settings for weddings. No septic system can handle 200 flushes in a six-hour period, Whittlesey added, saying, “That eliminates any wedding venue not on a public sewer system. And that’s either most or all of the places now generating economic income for our county from weddings.”
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to take final action on the ordinance at its Aug. 12 meeting.