County rejects proposed permit for gatherings
Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 10:44 p.m.
A new county zoning ordinance passed an initial amended reading Tuesday
night, receiving approval from the Davidson County Board of Commissioners by
a 4-3 vote
Commissioners Cathy Dunn, Fred McClure, Don Truell and board chairman Sam
Watford supported the measure.
By law, since the ordinance was not passed unanimously, it must pass a
second reading which commissioners set for the next regularly scheduled
meeting on June 14.
The ordinance last underwent major amending in 1994, said county Planning
and Zoning Director Guy Cornman. Cornman's department worked on the zoning
ordinance updates for the better part of a year and were aided in the
process by the Piedmont Triad Council of Governments.
His latest proposal didn't pass the first read without taking some
criticism from the board, which took exception to a particular section that
dealt with the definition of special events. As proposed, the ordinance
would have called for a permit to be obtained for “an activity, event, or
group outing including but not limited to a performance, meeting, assembly,
contest, exhibit, ceremony, parade, athletic competition, reading, or picnic
involving more than 20 people which is atypical of the extent of impact or
use occurring on a parcel or site.”
Cornman and Hannah Cockburn said purpose of the permit is to regulate
public safety, public health and noise levels. Such events could be applied
for by individuals up to four times per year. Cockburn said the permit was
popular with other counties in the state.
“When you have an atypical event, you have an opportunity to make sure
there is proper sanitation,” Cockburn said. “That they have a plan for the
vehicles that are coming in and out of the property.”
Cornman suggested that an atypical event is larger than normal gathering
in which entertainment might be present.
That particular definition of a special event didn't sit well with
commissioners and as a result, was voted out of the ordinance altogether
Rather sarcastically, Yates asked if he were to host a cookout in his
back yard with 20 people, would he need a permit.
Cockburn responded by saying a permit would not be required for such an
event but said if live music or a show were planned then a permit would be
McClure raised similar concerns and asked if the county had experienced
real problems with such events in the past.
“I really can't see much need to do this,” he said
David Bodenheimer can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 227, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.