Permit now required to host events on county roads

Permit now required to host events on county roads

Street festivals, parades, community celebrations and even large
block parties will now need to pay the county to host an event,
though the new rule is only applicable to county-owned roads or
those not owned by a city.
Morgan Hill

Street festivals, parades, community celebrations and even large block parties will now need to pay the county to host an event, though the new rule is only applicable to county-owned roads or those not owned by a city.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors adopted the ordinance and approved a permit fee schedule Aug. 24. According to the board, the ordinance provides a process for event organizers and the county to manage special events to reduce impacts on residents and to protect everyone’s safety.

County staff will report back to the board next September about the effectiveness of the ordinance and potential amendments.

“The ordinance is designed to protect the safety of both event patrons and users of the roads, and ensure that impacted neighbors receive advance notice of events,” District 1 Supervisor Don Gage said. “It is also important that the board revisit this ordinance in a year to see if it is working as intended.”

Street fairs, festivals, block parties, organized athletic or sporting events, and community celebrations fall under the new ordinance and depending on the type of activity, event holders will be required to obtain a special permit and pay a fee. The fee reflects the cost of providing permit review and issuance.

A block party that requires the closure of a county road would cost $98; a “minor special event” of more than 50 people but fewer than 500 and does not require road closure or diversion of traffic will cost $200; an “expressive activity” described by the county as First Amendment protected conduct will also cost $200; and a major special event that requires a road closure with more than 500 people such as a parade will need to be determined by the county.

Funeral processions by a licensed mortuary or funeral home of fewer than 200 people and do not block traffic are exempted from permit requirements.

Event organizers can request a permit application by mail at the County of Santa Clara, Roads and Airports, Encroachment Permit Issuance Unit, 70 West Hedding St., 7th Floor, East Wing, San Jose, Calif. 95110, or by calling 573-2402 or faxing a request to 947-1165.

The ordinance stemmed from concerned neighbors of San Antonio Valley, the Valley Transportation Authority’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, as well as residents’ needs in the area east of the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton, where many events are held throughout the year.

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