Park Ordinances Reviewed by City Council

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Photo from cityofmilford.com
Photo from cityofmilford.com

By Terry Rogers

Event Alcohol Permits

On Monday, November 24, Milford City Council reviewed two changes to ordinances affecting city parks. The first would adjust city ordinances to allow alcohol consumption in the parks for special events while the second was to add a smoking ban in public parks.

“We currently allow groups to serve alcohol in the parks as long as they submit a special request to council,” Mayor Bryan Shupe explained. “However, the park ordinance specifically forbids alcohol. To bring the park ordinance in line with what we are doing as a council, we needed to add a clause that says council can approve alcohol consumption with specific requirements.” City Manager Richard Carmean said that with microbrewing becoming a growing industry in the area continuing to allow alcohol, such as was done during the Farmer’s Market and the Eat-in-the-Street events, would bring more activity downtown.

“So someone could be in the park drinking alcohol at an event on one day and get arrested the next day?” Councilman James Starling asked. “I am not so sure that is a good idea.”

Mayor Shupe explained that the rules for serving alcohol in the park would be for specific events only and that council would have to approve any organization that wanted to do so. City Solicitor David Rutt explained that the changes to the ordinance would still require organizations to file for permits and that the permits were limited to a two-day maximum. He also explained that the city could set boundaries for the event, requiring alcohol be limited to a certain area.

“We also need to include rules for cleaning up after the event,” Councilman Chris Mergner said. “Maybe we should include a requirement for some time of deposit or bond. We could even have a sign off by Parks & Recreation after the event authorizing them to get their deposit back.”

Smoking Ban In Parks

Mayor Shupe explained that the smoking ban was initiated by Councilman Skip Pikus who reported that constituents had contacted him about banning smoking in public parks. The ordinance had been reviewed by Parks & Recreation, Community Affairs and the Police Commission, and all had approved the ordinance. The ban would forbid smoking in all public parks in the city, but only within the park boundaries. Adjacent properties would not be affected by the ban. The ordinances were only introduced at the November meeting but will be added to the December 8, 2014 agenda for approval.

City Council also voted unanimously to expand yard waste removal for the entire year rather than just for the warm weather months. Mr. Carmean explained that winter storms can cause residents to dispose of branches and other yard materials even when the weather is cold, which is why he recommended expanding the service year round.