Lindsay adjusts fees for specialty events

(Rigo Moran)

Lindsay City Council passes motion to adjust the fees and application process for special events during recent public meeting

LINDSAY – Residents looking to hold a public or special event in the city of Lindsay could have an easier time obtaining a special event permit now that recent amendments to the city’s charter are meant to simplify the application process.

During the Aug. 8 city council meeting, Ordinance No. 606 was passed with a 3 to 2 majority vote. The proposed changes include a restructuring of how to classify the size of an event, condensing the current application form from 15 to nine pages and adjusting the fees associated with obtaining a permit.

These changes were first introduced at the July 25 Lindsay City Council meeting by assistant city planner Araceli Mejia. During her presentation, she explained how the current five-class system will be reduced to three classes. The changes were reiterated at the Aug. 8 meeting by Mejia.

“The first two categories will be approved at the staff level,” she said. “Class three, which involves the sale for profitable or very high impact events; the city, the city manager, or business, will make that determination at the time of the application of what high impact will be, then they will come to council for approval.”

The class one fee begins at $100 and is categorized by “the temporary uses of 31 days or less for the sales for special occasions.” An event will be considered class two, which starts at $250, if it requires “low impact road closures on city owned property.”

Class three, which costs $500, is essentially the amalgamation of classes four and five, being categorized as involving “the sale of alcohol and high impact road closures that I’m seeing on property, events that are turning an entry fee.”

These prices can fluctuate given on the actions of those applying for a permit, specifically if they apply with missing or incomplete information. The more difficult the person or organization makes the process, the higher fee they’ll accrue.

The sale of alcohol makes the event an automatic class three. If an event is considered class three, the application will have to be submitted at least 60 days before the event, whereas class one and two events have 30 days to submit.

Class three events also have to be approved by the council, whereas class one and two events can be approved by city staff.

To apply for an event, the applicant must have a site plan, a business license application and the permission of the owner of the property the event will take place, as well as the event application itself.

Pleas about fees

Event permits weren’t the only fee-based issue brought up in the meeting. At the beginning of the session, a citizen expressed concern about her yard sale signs, and the fee for hosting a sale without a permit, which increased from $5 to $15 in December.

The resident decided to bring the topic to the city after seeing people post yard sale signs and other flyers around town, many of which haven’t yet been taken down, according to her.

“I do have pictures right here of a lot of people (who) put up yard sale signs on the poles,” she said. “They haven’t (taken) down any of those signs, so I got upset.”

While she said she understands the city generally frowns against residents posting signage for personal matters on property that is not their own, she asked that they not ticket residents like her, who take down their signs at night.

“I was wanting to know if you guys would be able to allow that,” she said. “And then, whoever leaves up yard sale signs … just go and give them a ticket afterwards.”

According to Lindsay City Manager Joe Tanner, the city simply hasn’t taken down the signs because of understaffing.

“We don’t have code enforcement officers where other communities might have two or three,” Tanner said. “So (we’re) really driven by complaints or what we see. … Our building inspector, if he’s out and about and notices a yard sale, he’ll go talk to (the residents) and tell them that they need to go to the finance department and get a permit.”

While building inspectors and other city staff usually take down the signs they come across, they aren’t quick to give out fees. Instead, they try to encourage residents to keep their signage on their property.

“We try not to fine people, (it’s) not really what we want to do,” Tanner said. “It’s just more of an education process, because they are allowed a sign in front of their home, and they can put one on their car.”

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