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St. George City Council approves changes to permit process for special events

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Posted at 9:55 PM, Oct 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-17 19:46:54-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah – The St. George City Council unanimously adopted changes to the city’s special event permit ordinance Thursday.

City Spokesman Marc Mortensen said the council revamped the ordinance to allow for more flexibility and clarity when granting special event permits. The change comes almost a year after the process came under fire following a Halloween dance police broke up for improper paperwork.

“They’ve done some extensive work see what other cities are doing, throughout the state, and throughout the region,” Mortensen said. “We want the events we hold here in St. George to be successful.”

Under those changes, event organizers are no longer required to go before the city council for approval. Instead, the city will appoint a staff member to make that determination.

Event organizers will also be required to apply 45 days prior to the event. Mortensen said that was done to allow staff time to process applications and ensure all requirements are met.

Shelly Smith, organizer of the What Women Want Expo, said it will take time to see how the changes affect regular events, but in general she said she thinks it’s a good step.

“I think anytime you can get rid of paperwork, and make the process go smoother, that’s a good thing,” Smith said.

Another major change organizers will notice has to do with the collection of fees. In the past, the city has provided some services, like closing roads and minimum security, without charge for non-profit groups and some other groups. Mortensen said the city hosts between 30 and 40 events a month, and that has begun to impact the budget.

“The city council didn’t feel it was the responsibility of the taxpayer to subsidize those events,” Mortensen said.  “Thus the need, possibly, for an additional fee.”

The cost of using city resources will depend on how much is being requested.