Athens Special Events Ordinance Revisions

By: Julie Calhoun

The Legislative Review Committee will be meeting tonight to decide if they will make changes to special events ordinances which could have major effects on Athens annual Twilight bike race and Athens music scene. Terrapin’s bike race is one of the most popular events in Athens but an ordinance that was put in place in 1992 could be hurting twilight. That has prompted Mayor Denson to have the whole ordinance reviewed. Denson said, “The primary thing that prompted it was the outdoor eating areas where we have the size and number of people restrictions on the outdoor eating where you get the beer and food, contained in the area where you get the wrist bands and maybe if there was a better way of combining those and looking at the numbers to make more efficient and attractive for the event.” The current ordinance effects outside eating venues which restricts them to an area to contain 300 people and allows for two more of those areas that can only contain 150 people, but they can’t be in the same block. The committee will be looking to see if this ordinance will still make sense in 2013. Another possible revision would be to the noise ordinance in industrial and rural areas to allow for outdoor concerts. The current ordinance limits outdoor events in these areas to only twice a year. Terrapin is considered to be apart of the industrial area here in Athens but if the ordinance is revised Athens could have concerts every 30 days. Jared Bailey, the 5th district commissioner here in Athens as well as the executive director of Athfest says, “There are certain events you could have in the country or industrial area that would fit really well there but wouldn’t fit in downtown because might have a band so big you couldn’t fit all those people downtown. Revisions could be set in place in time for Twilight this year. Both ordinance revisions could help better Athens music scene and bring in more tax dollars.

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