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Special events bylaw change should help cut red tape

Rocky View County approved an update to its Special Events bylaw during its Sept. 19 council meeting.
Three land redesignations were approved by Rocky View County council at its April 24 meeting.
Amendments to Special Events Bylaw passed at Sept. 19 meeting.

Rocky View County (RVC) will be cutting some of the red tape for those applying for special events permits.

Rocky View County approved an update to its Special Events bylaw during its Sept. 19 council meeting which should make it considerably easier for residents to apply for and receive permits. It also streamlines the application process so that annual events will no longer have to submit comprehensive applications in order to get approval.

Highlighted in the new bylaw was feedback received from local event organizers which found the current process cumbersome and confusing.

The changes will include several areas, including allowing event organizers to submit a concise online application. The re-submission of unchanged documents for annual events has been eliminated. 

According to the County, the new Special Events bylaw also streamlines the tent permit process. Tents on residential properties for private functions such as weddings will now be exempt from building permits if placed greater than three meters from any other tent or structure and does not contain cooking equipment.

Anyone holding a special event will now be required to inform surrounding residents within one mile in advance that the event will be taking place.

The County will also now officially allow overflow parking for events on county roads, as long as vehicles are on one side of the road only, so emergency vehicles can get through if needed. 

However, there is one catch. In order to have permission to park on the road for event overflow, the event holder should inform the County if they expect the impact on local traffic flows may be significant. The County then may require the private gathering to apply for a special events permit, which is supposed to be done 90 days in advance.

This could include large, private family get-togethers, according to the wording of the new Special Events bylaw.

“So something in my backyard,” asked Division 6 Coun. and Deputy Reeve Sunny Samra of county staff, “it is not open to the public, doesn’t change the land use, but impacts county roads– how do you determine that? Based on the cars that come to my house?”

“If the event is blocking traffic,” explained RVC community services coordinator Ghada Rafi, “or if there are cars out there parked too close to the road, then we would process it as a Special Event.”

Deputy CAO Byron Riemann clarified that the County would have discretion on whether or not to enforce parking requirements on county roadways.

“It would be strictly complaint-driven when we start seeing impacts of people parking on the road,” he stated. “The issues that are looked at though is the vehicle parked there restricting the driveway or the road. Can an emergency vehicle get by there because now you have them parked on one side? Or one is parked way out on the road … or restricting sight lines? Can someone get out of their approach and actually see around the vehicles? So it is a bit of a case by case determination. We do expect the person that is hosting the event will give consideration to those factors.”

In the end, RVC council approved the proposed amendments to the Special Events bylaw unanimously.


Tim Kalinowski

About the Author: Tim Kalinowski

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