City moves ahead on revamping special event permit process; dancing no problem

A young boy holds a sign protesting the city's special events permitting process in the wake of the Monster Mash incident, St. George, Utah, Nov. 6, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A year after a permitting issue caused police to shut down a Halloween dance at the Fiesta Fun Center and drew national attention for it, the City Council was presented with a draft of proposed reforms to the city’s special event permitting process Thursday. After discussing points of the draft, the council directed staff to solidify the ordinance for presentation and voting at an upcoming council meeting.

The reforms, which have been in the works following the Monster Mash incident, are meant to give the city more room in how it processes permits, as well as clarifying when special event permits are needed.

Mostly we tried to pare it down and still leave flexibility for the city manager and the City Council in being able to allow events and encourage events that we want to happen,” Deputy City Attorney Paula Houston said.

Last year, a permitting issue led to the Monster Mash, a Halloween dance party held at Fiesta Fun, to be shut down due to a contested permitting violation. Event promoter Jared Keddington said he had the city’s permission to hold the event – dancing including. City officials claimed otherwise, resulting in police officers showing up at the event and shutting down any potential dancing.

“It’s Footloose,” Keddington said at the time. “This is Footloose.”

City officials said the dance portion of Keddington’s event couldn’t be approved because not enough time had been allowed for the City Council to meet and review the event application.

In the wake of the Monster Mash incident, a dance protest was held on the steps of the St. George City Offices during a council meeting.

City staff began to present ideas to the City Council related to revamping the city’s special events permitting process the following December.

Special event permits currently have to be submitted 30 days in advance of the event and ultimately approved by the City Council. The permits are required for large gatherings of various types – even those held at private businesses with adequate facilities.

Applicants also have to consider the impacts their events may have on the surrounding area and provide the city with plans related to parking, security, sanitation and so forth.

Proposed revisions to the current ordinance governing special event permits would require first time applicants to put in applications at least 45 days ahead of their event.

Recurring events, such as the Lions Club’s Dixie Roundup Rodeo and George, Streetfest on Main, would not have to go through the application process as the city staff are already familiar with their events and know what to expect.

As for applications going before the City Council, that would be done away with. Events would be approved by city staff instead.

Councilman Joe Bowcutt was adamant during the meeting that he doesn’t want applicants to have to go through City Council if they don’t have to and expressed his support for the change.

Buildings and businesses already licensed and approved to host special events won’t have to apply for a special event permit unless the event goes beyond the usual scope of the approved operation.

Permits will also be required for events that require additional city resources beyond what may already be available. The same would apply to gatherings of 50 people or more on both private and city property that request additional city resources. An example of those resources would be using the city’s stage, providing additional security via police officers or barricades needed to cordon off a street.

As a part of the revised permitting process, new fees could be attached to applications based on what additional resources are requested.

If (the event) doesn’t require additional city services, then you’re OK,” Mayor Jon Pike said.

The City Council gave verbal approval for staff to move forward with the ordinance revisions.

As far as dances are concerned, the City of St. George does not have any specific ordinances making dancing illegal.

City officials have said dance events within the city are routinely approved just like any other event provided they meet permitting requirements.

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Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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  • 42214 October 10, 2015 at 8:33 am

    This is an ambarrassment to St George and its citizens.

  • anybody home October 10, 2015 at 9:51 am

    The Mormons don’t embarrass easily.

    • 42214 October 10, 2015 at 11:16 am

      So true, if Joseph Smith doesn’t embarrass them nothing will.

      • AnotherReader October 10, 2015 at 1:38 pm

        You’re right, not embarrassed at all by Joseph Smith. Your degrading ignorant comments, past, present and future, will not change that. Have a nice day, and dance to your heart’s content.

        • 42214 October 10, 2015 at 6:18 pm

          You have low standards. Child abuse in the form of multiple wives and child brides would embarrass me. I think I will go dancing and I will have a nice day. Now get back to you quilt.

        • 42214 October 10, 2015 at 8:25 pm

          You say dance to your heart’s content in a snide way as if you don’t approve. Do you have a problem with people dancing? Are you that up tight?

          • 42214 October 12, 2015 at 8:22 pm

            Anotherreader, keyboard broke?

          • AnotherReader October 12, 2015 at 10:03 pm

            Let’s see 42212, this story is now almost three days old, you must be a little hung up on Joseph Smith. So, no the keyboard ain’t broken. And I’m still not embarrassed by Joseph despite your spouted falsehoods. I also find in funny you think you can read “snide” in a written comment. Actually, dance all you like and I may do the same. No disapproval on my end.

          • 42214 October 13, 2015 at 8:44 pm

            I think it’s very common to read nuance into one’s writing. I guess you just read one word at a time. As for Joey, I have a fascination with how charlatans and con men are able to influence others.

  • native born new mexican October 10, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    More hatred from the usual sources. You are good at criticizing what you think is intolerance in others but engage in it freely and often yourselves. I personally think the no dancing thing was wrong and foolish but 42214 would have people strip searched and put in jail for it because everything to him is a serious crime that people need to pay the price for. Let he who has a kind heart and clean hands throw the first stone. That is not you guys.

    • 42214 October 10, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      You need a crying towel NBNM. I’m all for dancing and don’t want to strip search anyone . I wish whining was a felony cause you’d be serving a life term.

    • 42214 October 11, 2015 at 8:53 am

      Native Born, Obama is releasing 6,000 felons from federal prisons early. I bet you’re going to have a super bowl style party to celebrate. Let’s see 6K felons on the street equals about 500 new victims that should not be if they kept them locked up. Happy Day for Native Born.

  • Real Life October 10, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Congratulations St. George! You have graduated from the 1800’s to the early 1900’s. Now about that next hundred years….

  • ladybugavenger October 10, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    That kid holding the sign doesn’t even know why he’s holding the sign. From what I remember they did have a permit to dance and it was altered after the fact. Crazy stuff, lets dance!

  • Rainbow Dash October 10, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Anyone else find it ironic that Footloose was filmed just a couple of hours from here?

  • .... October 10, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Yes more hatred and intolerance shown in some of these comments. deal with it. good luck finding a place where hatred. bigotry and intolerance doesn’t exist

  • munchie October 10, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Dances with no dancing, “Mocktoberfest ” beer gardens with no beer, the ridiculous liquor laws, we are constantly subjected to the whims of the Mormons and it’s embarrassingly difficult to explain it to visitors. But they usually get a pretty good laugh out of it. Of course, they don’t have to live with it.

    • Rainbow Dash October 11, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      Well it is the DAWSNAWD (Do As We Say, Not As We Do) church.

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