On February 21, 2018, the City Council will take up measures recommended by City staff to minimize offsite impacts of events on private property, such as noise and parking. In order to obtain feedback prior to the meeting from businesses and residents, the City has posted a survey (click here) on its web site; responses will be collected through Friday night, Feb. 9, 2018.
BNC has prepared a two-page background piece about the issues addressed in the survey to help citizens better understand the issues and respond to the survey (click here to read the document). Here’s a summary:
- Noise Variances: BNC requested that variances be limited or denied within 250 feet of homes, because some events can be too close to homes to be compatible. Sound, of course, falls off with distance, so some space is needed for sound levels to drop. While the 2015 administrative policy allows for considering proximity to residences, this has not been applied consistently. It should be. The staff recommends no changes.
- Temporary Change of Occupancy Permits: BNC supports the staff-recommended limit of three TCOs per location per year. If the Council prefers more flexibility for multi-business locations, we suggest two per business and five per property, with a requirement that the applicant be a legal occupant of the premises. Nearly all of the ten or so properties that request TCOs in a year do so for only one indoor event, but one location received over 20 for outdoor events in the past two years. This permit is intended to be temporary, not a way of creating an event center by skirting land use codes and proper City and public review.
- Parking Plans: BNC supports the recommendation that a business intending to use its parking lot for an event be required to submit a parking plan to the City in conjunction with its review of applications for temporary alcohol (OLCC) licenses. The plan would have to meet federal ADA/accessibility standards. Since not all events involve an OLCC license, a plan should also be required for those with more than a certain number of attendees.
We believe that the long-term solution to managing events is to have more official event venues, regulated by a City event center code, and located far enough from residences so that sound levels and parking aren’t a problem.