Houston City Council on Monday approved stricter permitting requirements for outdoor music events on private property with more than 500 attendees.
There has been an increasing number of instances in which organizers only informed the city of their plans days before an event, sometimes leading to an additional cost of thousands of dollars for city staff and law enforcement to handle unexpected safety issues at the venue, according to city and law enforcement officials.
Under the new ordinance, organizers would have to turn in permit applications at least 60 days prior to the event and have a detailed safety plan in place. Failure to do so will result in a late fee and require the organizer to pay for any extra public expenses associated with the event.
The ordinance would bring the level of review for large music events on private property on par with those on public property.
“With social media and everything, all of a sudden you can get hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of people showing up,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. “And then something happens, and then here we are on the news because people are saying to us ‘Did you all permit that, why didn’t you permit it, and why did you all allow this to happen?’ ”
Turner said the ordinance was tailored specifically to deal with music events because city staff and first responders have identified the most problems with those types of events.
“I asked them to carefully craft a very narrow ordinance since we’re dealing with people’s private property,” the mayor said. “When you cast that net and include everything, then you really are imposing the city’s will on private property owners across the board with little or no justification for it.”
See here for the background. I’m fine with this, but I will continue to wonder if there isn’t more that can and should be done. As with the AstroWorld task force recommendations, I’d really appreciate hearing a discussion with some experts about this.