Businesses hurt by street closures would get headsup
CHARLES TOWN — Leaders putting together bike races and other special events in Charles Town will have to do more to let downtown businesses know about their plans, according to a new events ordinance being considered by city leaders.
City Manager David Mills told members of the Charles Town City Council ordinance committee last week that he and Police Chief Chris Kutcher are continuing to work on an events policy for Charles Town.
Mills told the committee members that the events policy will include ensuring City Council members get detailed reports on future events as well as updates on the city’s web page.
The events policy became the focus of public attention following the June 28 Two Cities Criterium Bicycle Race, which shut down city streets – and discouraged many from shopping downtown – most of that Saturday.
The event didn’t attract throngs of spectators as organizers had hoped and many locals avoided downtown altogether because of traffic backups.
Charles Town Mayor Peggy Smith ended up apologizing for any lost revenue because of the race.
Under the change, Mills said Kutcher will compile reports for council members on events and present the reports at council meetings. When special activity permits come fore the council, they will be placed at the top of the agenda so the public can easily see what’s being proposed, Mills said.
When organizations apply for special activity permits, they would also be required to notify the businesses affected, Mills said.
Councilman Wayne Clark of Ward 2 – who serves as city ordinance committee chairman – said the city has been eyeing revisions to its events policy for awhile.
“We want to formalize our events policy,” Clark said. “This doesn’t just concern the bike race. We have been fine-tuning our policy, looking at all 2014 events.”
The ordinance is still being finalized. The other members of the ordinance committee are Councilman Mark Reinhart, Ward 1, and Jonathan Wertman, Ward 3.