Ferndale Officials Discuss Possible Changes to Event Policies

Ferndale Officials Discuss Possible Changes to Event Policies

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan 9, 2018)

Ferndale, MI – As the frequency of festivals in Downtown Ferndale increases, so do discussions about how best to manage them.

The City held a Work Session Monday to discuss proposed recommendations by staff.  The meeting was just an initial discussion with potential changes that could be implemented in the next two years.  Among the discussion items were:

-Requiring events to have a streamlined plan for vendor drop offs and pick ups, with one way in, one way out to help keep set up and tear down more efficient and to prevent cars from blocking fire lanes.

-Requiring an event walk through with public safety and DPW two weeks prior to the event.

-Requiring a deposit for event planners, to be refunded if they follow all the rules and don’t damage property.

-Possible changes in the use of water barricades to block streets.

-Establishing an advisory council of business owners to support Special Events Committee

-Capping the number of alcohol-related events per year

-Reducing evening hours on Sundays for events

-Requiring recycling plans at events

Council members and members of the audience expressed concern over the number of events being held in the city.  “I feel like we’re at a tipping point,” said Mayor Dave Coulter.  “At what point is it too much?”

A 2017 survey of residents indicated “a desire for more family friendly events and fewer alcohol related events,” said Assistant City Manager Joe Gacioch.

Councilperson Greg Pawlica said he’d be hesitant to limit the number of events or having a rating system of events because it could turn away people that may have good ideas.  “I don’t think we would have had the porch concerts last year if  we had too strict guidelines in place.”

Councilperson Martin said events could be moved to other parts of the city.  “Not necessarily reducing the quantity, but we can use our resources better, have more folks go to Geary Park, to Martin Road Park, to Hilton,” he said.

“We’ve been trying to figure out the bumper lanes,” said Mayor Pro Tem Melanie Piana.  “At the end of the day, the city can say no, but you have to have the right parameters in place to do this fairly.”

The discussion was neither the first nor the last on refining event policies. The City has prepared surveys for residents who live in the RPZ (Residential Parking Zone streets) and business owners in the DDA district that will go out this week to find out more of what people want in terms of events.  Note: This paragraph was updated Jan. 10 to clarify who gets the surveys.

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