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City streamlining process to hold events

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People listen to a preformance by On The Border during Concert on the Common at Town Common on June 13, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The growing popularity of concerts, races, festivals and other outdoor events in Greenville has prompted city officials to begin streamlining the process to secure permits for them.

Greenville Assistant City Manager Michael Cowin outlined new policies and procedures for the process during a City Council workshop on Monday.

“We’ve had a tremendous explosion in the type of events we are having here in the city,” Cowin said.

People seeking a special event permit from the city currently may have to make eight or more trips to the police, recreation and parks, fire-rescue and public works departments to obtain the necessary approvals, Cowin said.

Staff is proposing a “one-stop” system where a special events coordinator will accept applications that will be submitted to a special events committee.

“After going through this presentation there is no doubt we need this service,” Mayor P.J. Connelly said.

Cowin said the goal is to implement the revised process when the new fiscal year begins July 1.

One of the changes involves increasing permitting fees and fees for services the city has to provide during events. Details about the fee increases will be discussed at subsequent meetings, officials said.

Public or privately sponsored event held on city property and in public streets and rights of way may require services from police, fire-rescue, public works and recreation and parks, Cowin said. They also may require special event permits like the ones needed for amplified music or alcohol sales.

There are three primary categories events that require permitting: festivals, which include outdoor events like festivals and concerts; processions which are parades and public/private marches; and competitive events such as races and walks.

The policy won’t apply to the rental of recreation and parks facilities or clubhouse rentals at Bradford Creek because the department already has rules in place.

Cowin used a 5K run/walk to illustrate the current permitting process.

Such events typically require services from recreation and parks, police, fire-rescue and public works. Currently applicants must obtain approval from each department and may have to make eight or more trips before approval is granted, Cowin said.

Under the proposed plan, residents would submit their applications to a special events coordinator at City Hall, and a special events committee would review the application and grant the permit.

Under the proposed timeline a person or organization must submit an application package at least 90 days, but not more than 365 days, before the event, Cowin said.

The applicant will meet with the review committee, consisting of representatives from recreation and parks, police, fire-rescue and public works, around the 60-day mark to examine the application and make a recommendation. If the application is approved, the applicant will submit the final documentation and permit fees at the 30-day mark.

There were questions about the application time frame. Connelly noted that the hurricane relief concert featuring the Avett Brothers came together in less than 90 days. City Manager Ann Wall said if a similar event is held at the Town Common, the city would likely be a co-sponsor which would allow for an exemption.

Staff said the maximum application period for using the Town Common would be 365 days. Councilman Will Litchfield questioned if that would limit the ability to draw popular performers. Bianca Shoneman, executive director of Uptown Greenville, said most performers book shows on a yearly basis.

The council directed staff to begin scheduling public meetings to get community feedback on the proposal along with contacting recurring applicants.

Staff will then submit a final copy of the policy and procedures and a manual of fees for approval.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.