Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Street Festival Ordinance

by Matthew Cramer

Athens Police
Chief Rick Mayer has proposed a new ordinance that would force Athens residents to acquire a permit for an outdoor stage setup. This ordinance was proposed in reaction to events from the Palmer Street festival on the 9th of May.

With the new ordinance, residents would be required to have inspections not only on the stage but also on their house. The house would be also inspected to make sure it is up to date on fire and electric codes.

Along with inspections of electrical and fire codes, residents would be responsible for providing a set number of port-a-pottys based on the specific permit for the house. Police Chief Mayer says that there are already existing regulations that call for these port a pottys but this ordinance would give more clarification.

Police and firefighters responding to a fire in the middle of the street encountered resistance getting through the street with people blocking all traffic. Once the people were cleared out of the street, large stages in the backyards of houses behind Palmer Street prevented exits onto either Stimson Avenue or Mill Street. With the police moving in one direction down the street, once the students were moved off to the smaller side streets, they were able to move behind the advancing police force and get back onto the main street.

Police Chief Rick Mayer talks about the improved safety measures with the new ordinance

Palmer Street resident Meghan McHugh says the ordinance will be a good thing for future spring festivals. This year Palmer Street residents had the opportunity to go to optional meetings to discuss safety measure for Palmerfest. McHugh says that a mandatory meeting for all residents of Palmer Street that would lay out strict guidelines for Palmerfest would be beneficial.

Meghan McHugh discusses her Palmerfest experience


Anonymous said...

Good luck getting students to follow such an absurd ordinance...yes I see the benefits of safety inspections, but tell a college student to rent port-o-potty units; come on. There has never been a single fest since I've been to school here that has had one of those, thats a joke and a waste of money to anyone setting up a fest.

The parties will continue, whether the city likes it or not. I can tell you right now if this ordinance is actually heavily enforced, or the permit is anything more than free; you are going to here it big time from the students; causing even more tension than there already is between students and law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Seems like someone has been partying too much, and missing some classes.
"you are going to here it big time", that's 'hear' it big time. Sounds a bit spoiled too. It's a matter of respect, and those who think their actions weren't disrespectful are immature, at best.

Anonymous said...

Haha I love when anyone's argument to another post is "look a typo" or "wow your grammar sucks." Newsflash - its a blog who cares?

Also, when did I say the actions of the students during Palmerfest were not disrespectful? They were.

The point I am trying to make is that the city needs to re-think this proposal - inspecting a stage for safety, sure good idea. But inspecting a stage and requiring port-o-pottys would not have prevented anything that happened that weekend. In fact, I could see the port-o-pottys being knocked over creating a bigger mess (sarcasm, but sadly true). Yes, in the stage this ordinance is in right now, its absurd, and pointless.

Esq. said...

Why should it take an application process for a "street festival" to ensure that Athens slumlords are keeping their rentals up to code?