In April of 2009, the City Manager created a Special Events Advisory Committee to study the best practices of other cities and to make recommendations for incorporating the current special events policy into the City Code. The Committee was directed to develop an ordinance that provided a systematic and consistent approach to planning and permitting outdoor events.
Public hearings were held at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens on October 26, 2009, June 7, 2010 and June 21, 2010, to receive public comments. Staff also presented the draft ordinance and responded to questions and concerns at a League of Neighborhoods meeting on May 10, 2010. The draft ordinance was published on the City's web page and furnished by e-mail to registered neighborhood associations. Citizens were provided an opportunity to comment on the draft proposal during the months of April, May and June, 2010. On August 3, 2010, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 19255-08-2010 regulating outdoor events in the City. Due to concerns received during the public hearing on August 3, 2010, related to the regulation of First Amendment activities, the City Council directed staff to review the ordinance as it relates to First Amendment parades and events and bring back suggested revisions, if needed.
The proposed attached amendment would 1) add new definitions for First Amendment Parades and First Amendment Parade Permits; 2) remove funeral processions and house moving, demolition and construction activities from the list of exempted activities; 3) add "Processions of vehicles operated in compliance with ordinary traffic laws or a procession of pedestrians along or upon public sidewalks, public parks, or Private Property" to the list of activities that are exempt from the regulations of the ordinance; 4) move all regulations regarding First Amendment parades and events to Division 3. "First Amendment Events and First Amendment Parades"; 5) add language to Division 3 requiring an Emergency Services Plan that complies with the Fort Worth Fire Code and the Fire Department's street closure guidelines to maintain adequate fire lanes within each closure area and a Traffic Control Plan to provide traffic and parking controls; and 6) delete any reference to First Amendment activities outside Division 3.