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June 5, 2014

Company blasts decision on events

Council vote 'cut me off at the knees,' events head says


“This was the first we had a mass start like this, and the first time we had a problem like this,” Robinson said.

Meanwhile, a City Council committee considering new rules and possibly higher fees for large public events at Kimball Farm and other city venues will meet at least one more time, on June 26, before voting as soon as next month.

Councilor Colin LePage, chairman of the council’s Administration and Finance Committee, said the urgency for tighter controls on large public events appears to have lessened since the council rejected the three upcoming events at Kimball Farm. On the other hand, Mayor James Fiorentini is urging the council to approve the new rules “as fast as possible.”

The new regulations would affect many kinds of events in the city, but neighborhood complaints and police concerns about traffic and other issues at recent Kimball Farm events have spurred the changes. The mayor said road races would not be affected by any new rules governing events because there’s already a specific ordinance for road races.

“We need new rules to regulate these events including public hearings, neighborhood notification and reasonable fees,” the mayor told councilors. “If you don’t want the fees, feel free to change that part of it. But I encourage you to move the ordinance forward as fast as possible.”

Since his original proposal, the mayor said he has suggested several changes. They include exempting events with fewer than 500 participants, community concerts at Bradford Common and events at Winnekenni Park from some provisions, such as increased fees, neighborhood notice and requiring a public hearing. The mayor said he is also open to transferring authority over large events from the council to the Licensing Commission.

Fiorentini’s proposal includes fees ranging from $50 for an event that draws fewer than 100 people to $500 for an event that expects more than 1,000 people to $2,500 for an event with more than 5,000 people. The council would have the authority to waive the fees for some nonprofit, religious and city groups.

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