Factors regarding attendance and permit costs were discussed at the committee meeting.
An ordinance regarding regulations on public functions was tabled at this week’s committee meeting.
The ordinance stated any special event that has an expected attendance of more than 300 people on public ground, is required to submit a permit to the township prior to the event.
The ordinance defined a special event as “any protest, service, fair, carnival, festival, show, exhibition, celebration, assembly, pageant or other similar public event to be conducted within or partly within the Township of Tabernacle.”
Tabernacle resident Fran Brooks expressed concerns on how the number of 300 people was determined. She also inquired about how the township plans to monitor that number, and suggested the ordinance be looked at more closely to clarify potential issues that could arise.
Resident Stuart Brooks also expressed concerns, seeking clarification on if the staff members at such events are included in that number. He recommended possible solutions to find a more accurate depiction of how many people should be deemed reasonable.
“Perhaps the factor that should be considered is parking availability, maybe there’s a threshold of how many cars can Tabernacle handle before they begin to create a safety problem,” Stuart said. “That’s a thought as to what factor might be the trigger, not just 500 [people] seems too big, 250 [people] seems too small.”
Mayor Joseph Barton mentioned there is a violations and penalties section of the ordinance, where disciplinary action may be taken upon those who do not abide by the regulations.
There were also concerns raised by the public regarding the permit cost of $75. Barton stated the township is not permitted to profit off of that cost, and it would be used to cover costs for the amount of time it takes professionals to review the information.
Deputy Mayor Stephen Lee proposed the idea to lower the permit cost to $25, given the permit only requires basic information on the event and it should not take an extensive amount of time to review.
He also suggested the exceptions section of the ordinance be removed, which originally stated any funeral procession, educational activities, weddings and houses of worship would be exempt from submitting a permit. Lee noted recurring sports events could potentially be the only exception.
Ultimately, the committee decided to table the ordinance until the next meeting so township solicitor Peter Lange can make changes based off feedback from all committee members.
In other news:
- The Tabernacle Rescue Squad was awarded a $91,000 federal grant to replace the self-contained breathing apparatus that will be expiring on the rescue trucks and for additional equipment.
- The Burlington County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund membership has been renewed. Paul Forlenza, JIF deputy executive director, stated Tabernacle has been a member since 2001 and, over the past 30 years, the JIF movement has saved New Jersey taxpayers $1.3 billion.
The next committee meeting will be held on Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.