The city of Bainbridge Island doesn’t want to be a party pooper, but it doesn’t want to be so lax that a Woodstock could happen.
The City Council talked about permits for special events at its meeting Nov. 21.
BI police chief Joe Clark said the city has received some noise complaints about music at a licensed business on private property in Lynwood Center.
City Councilmember Kirsten Hytopoulos said code may be the issue more than a permit. “It may violate the spirit of zoning. We get a lot of flack for regulating.”
Mayor Brenda Fantroy-Johnson said they don’t want to limit events on private property. “But they do need to take into account the neighborhood, and reduce the harm to another neighbor.”
Councilmember Leslie Schneider said the city should come up with a list of what can and can’t be done when it comes to things like noise and parking. She said if neighbors are concerned we can give them steps on what they can do.
Councilmember Jon Quitslund said he was at the event that was the reason behind the discussion. He said it was brought up to fellow Councilmember Joe Deets, who was absent from this meeting, not as a complaint, but as a question on if events on private property can be regulated by the city. Quitslund said it was a great event, but there does need to be a discussion about outdoor festivals.
He said BI wants to celebrate a variety of cultural events and “invite all of the talents we have here or are brought here as part of growing as a community.” Quitslund said the city’s Comprehensive Plan calls for such aspirations. “But they need to let the neighbors know what’s going to happen.”
Hytopoulos again said code changes would be needed as there is a noise ordinance, but it’s tough for police to enforce. She said there is a lot of concern on the south end of BI as noise travels across the water. She’s heard complaints over the years that noise wasn’t getting stopped or events regulated. People feel like “there’s no limit to what you can do. We could have Woodstock in a back yard and have no ability to regulate that.”
Fantroy-Johnson said, “A look at private property is probably warranted.”
Clark said another part of the issue is companies that want to make films on BI. He said he’s seen other cities come up with different rules for that as compared with parades or festivals.
“It’s good people are filming here,” Fantroy-Johnson said.
Schneider said city staff should work with the BI chamber to come up with guidelines for such activity. “We’re not slamming doors, just looking at possibilities,” she said.
Clark said from what he’s seen film companies try their best to limit impact on communities. For example, he mentioned closing roads, shooting the scene, and then reopening as soon as possible.
An agenda item says the city issues about 30 permits per year on events ranging from large ones like the Grand Old 4th of July Parade and Rotary Auction to small events held in places like Waterfront Park. Permits are needed for events that would have direct impact on traffic flow or congestion on streets, parks or public places that would impact the need for city emergency services.
A slide show says BI charges less and has a much shorter lead time than other Kitsap County cities. Poulsbo, for example, charges $75 instead of $27.50 and requires 90 days advance notice rather than 30.
City staff is going to study the issue and come back to the council with recommendations.