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County Rethinks Special Event Permits Big and Small


No doubt looking to avoid the mid-grade chaos and subsequent bureaucratic finger-pointing that entangled Montecito during Kim Kardashian’s mega-wedding last summer, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a new protocol this week for the handling the various Special Event Permits required for such affairs. The vote effectively makes the county’s Community Services director, a position currently held by Herman Parker, the point person in charge of sharing special event information with all the appropriate wings of county government, such as the planning and public works offices, and the County Fire and Sheriff’s departments.

In somewhat related county news, the supervisors voted 5-0 this week to formalize the process by which people apply for Right of Way Special Event Permits to allow marathons, bike races, parades, farmers markets, and other events. Permits, issued by the Public Works Department, had been free, but according to staff, the 60 permits issued in 2011 cost the county over $22,000 in staff hours. Now, permits will be priced anywhere from $50 to more than $350 depending on the size of the proposed event, the scope of its impact on the community, and the manpower it will require from staff. There will also be the opportunity for certain events to have the fee waived.

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