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Outdoor assembly fee: Must apply first

March 06, 2013 - Brandon Twp.- In August 1969, about 500,000 people descended on a 600-acre New York dairy farm for the Woodstock Festival, billed as three days of peace, love and music.

Three years later, in 1972, this township passed an ordinance regarding outdoor assemblies.

Since then, the ordinance has undergone several revisions, but the township board never established a fee for holding an outdoor assembly, as the ordinance stated would be charged.

That changed on Monday, as the township board approved by a 6-1 vote a resolution to charge a $300 fee for any resident hosting an outdoor assembly.

"We did have a resident express an interest in having an outdoor assembly this summer, so we wanted to make sure we had our ducks in a row," said Supervisor Kathy Thurman. "The building department needs this to cover the costs of administering the ordinance."

The ordinance requires that an application be filed with the building department if a person plans to host an outdoor assembly of more than 100 non-family guests at their home or business located within the township. Family is defined as being "related in at least the fourth degree, as defined by the rules of civil law," said Thurman, so the ordinance would not typically apply to reunions or graduation open houses, for example.

Trustee Dana DePalma said she voted no to adoption of the outdoor assembly fee because she felt it was too high.

"Three hundred dollars to host a party at your house is a lot," she said.

Dinnan explained that the fee was determined by the costs to enforce the ordinance and make sure a plan is provided for public safety, including police, fire, and health and sanitation. Dinnan also needs to make sure there is adequate provisions for noise control and vehicle access and parking.

"This is for the safety of the general public and immediate neighbors," he said. "Under the ordinance, not only do we need to get all that information, we have to see that it meets all the minimum requirements."

"God forbid we have a Woodstock here," he laughed. "Wouldn't that be funny? What would stop it?"

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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