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Paynesville Press - February 2, 2005

County board sets public hearing for large gathering ordinance

By Michael Jacobson

The Stearns County Board of Commissioners took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

*The board set a public hearing for Tuesday, Feb. 22, on proposed changes to the county's large gathering ordinance.  A proposal before the county board includes a change in notification when someone is planning a large gathering.

Currently, the county notifies the public of a large gathering by publishing it in the newspaper's legal section, but proposed ordinance changes would require written notification be sent to all property owners within 500 feet if the event is to be held in the city, within a mile in the county, and to any city clerk within two miles. 

Written notification will only be done if a public hearing is required.  These are the same notification rules followed by the county's planning commission.

The new ordinance would also lighten the requirements on ambulance services.  Instead of requiring an ambulance to be present at the event, there can be a written agreement to have one on-call.  

Also in the new ordinance, applicants would need to provide a written plan on dealing with severe weather, and public hearings must be held within 45 days rather than within 30 days.  Exempt from this ordinance are events held at universities because they have mechanisms already in place to deal with large gatherings.



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