The Nevada County Board of Supervisors hashed out a number of concerns regarding unpermitted outdoor events during a special board meeting Tuesday but did not come to any conclusions regarding amending the county’s current outdoor festival ordinance.
County Counsel Alison Barratt-Green brought a revised ordinance to the table that was intended to provide more effective enforcement tools and clarify permit requirements.
According to Barratt-Green, the current ordinance dates to the 1980s and had mostly been applied only to music events.
“It was somewhat haphazard,” she said.
“The supervisors had concerns about certain outdoor events that create a nuisance for the adjacent neighbors, be it traffic, noise, litter, parking or all of the above,” she said.
“At the same time, they are sensitive to the fact that they don’t want to be overly intrusive — they’re struggling to find a balance.”
The current ordinance requires a permit for events in facilities not designed for this use with a threshold of 100 people or more attending.
Barratt-Green said she crafted the amendments to work within the structure of the existing ordinance, expanding the definition of “outdoor festival” to include commercial, recreational, civic or social events.
The proposed revisions expanded the definition of sponsor and promoter and increased the responsibility of the property owner.
They also added permit standards to include hours of operation, toilet facilities, trash, lighting, traffic control, security, building code compliance and site plan approval.
More generalized requirements were proposed for smaller or private events.
Undersheriff Joe Salivar was on hand to answer questions, noting that the vast majority of the time, people comply with requests to dial down the noise. He added that unpermitted commercial events would be the most problematic.
Bob Goar of the Federation of Neighborhood Associations — who noted he was speaking as a private individual — likened the ordinance to “swatting a fly with a sledgehammer.”
In the end, the board sent it back to Barratt-Green for revisions.
“Today, we got some concepts on the table, so that we could see where the board wants to go,” she said. “I will have to come back with some different options, possibly with several versions. We’ll bring it back and give them another shot at it. ”
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.