Given the interest in the recent ordnance on large gatherings on private land that Nevada County Board of Supervisors is considering, I promised to ask my supervisor (District #1) Nate Beason for some publishable clarification about what is intended and what is going on regarding this issue. Specifically, I asked -
1. What problem the new ordnance is supposed to address that current laws and ordnances don’t cover?
2. What are the high hard ones in your preferred version of the ordnance?
3. What is the current progress on adopting such an ordnance?
4. Where should people go to find out more?
Nate was kind enough to give a timely reply to the email I sent him earlier in the day. His response follows.
For over 30 years, the County has required that, prior to conducting certain outdoor music events, the event sponsor must obtain an Outdoor Festival Permit from the Sheriff. In the past, these events have been defined as “…any outdoor gathering of more than 100 people for the purpose of participating in or attending a dance, music carnival, ‘rock’ festival, or like musical activity.”
At our workshop in January, the BOS took a decision to review and update the current ordinance. The decision was driven by two primary issues.
First, the potential for large events to occur in the unincorporated area without permits (which they have) and the current lack of enforcement tools provided to the sheriff to address the potential impacts of such events on neighboring properties.
Second, the BOS expressed an interest in establishing a reasonable mechanism by which wineries and other small businesses might hold occasional outdoor events on properties that do not have or cannot provide sufficient permanent facilities to hold such events.
A related issue is provision of discretionary enforcement authority to the sheriff regarding events that are exempt from the permitting process and cause disturbances. This enforcement would be complaint-driven and enforcement would be up to the responding officers’ discretion, i.e., a range of enforcement from asking people to please hold the noise down to requiring them to terminate their activities, depending on the nature and/or severity of the impact on the surrounding area. Our current ordinance is silent on this type of activity.
One of our major concerns is large, unpermitted gatherings at the end of dead end roads with inadequate sanitation and lack of safe emergency egress. We have had several of these types occur in recent years, and they appear to be on the increase. The current ordinance does not give the sheriff a sufficient range of authority to deal with them.
The first draft was sent back for revision for a variety of reasons. Any future BOS addressal of the issue will be publicly noticed. Any resident who wishes notification beyond that required by law can call the Planning Department, 265- 1759, and ask to be put on a list of contacts for this specific issue.
At this point, I can offer very little in terms of specifics, but I hope the foregoing helps.
Thanks for contacting me,