Assembly ordinance draws concern
The Carlton County Board of Commissioners is considering a new assembly ordinance to put in the teeth of enforcement for gatherings larger than 300 people in unincorporated, rural areas. Paul Gassert, county auditor and treasurer, is the point man on this updated ordinance and explains, "A large number of people for extended periods of time creates special problems in maintaining order, the enforcement of law, and the protection of public health, safety, and welfare."
Here are the details:
- A license fee of $500 will be needed for an assembly of more than 300 people with a $25,000 performance bond.
- The license may be revoked at any time or during the event if the county officials feel the 60-day pre-approved license terms have been violated.
- The proposed ordinance reads, "This ordinance shall not require a license for assembly at an established and permanent stadium, auditorium, arena, Carlton County licensed food, beverage and lodging facility, or a place of worship where the reasonably anticipated assembly does not exceed the maximum seating capacity of the structure by more than 250 persons. The county board may waive any of the requirements of this ordinance for a township proposing to conduct a community festival. The provisions of this ordinance shall not apply to any show or exhibition held in connection with the Carlton County Fair. This ordinance shall not apply to weddings, graduation parties, anniversaries and family reunions held on private, residential property."
- No licensee shall sell tickets to, nor permit to assemble, more than the number of persons stated on the license.
- No amplified sound from 1 to 8 a.m. and no fireworks from 12:01 to 8 a.m.
- Assemblies of 300-499 people need a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and an ambulance.
- Separate toilet facilities for men and women attendees with a minimum ratio of two per 100 persons.
- General liability insurance of $500,000 per injured person or $1.5 million for each occurrence.
- A plan for security personnel, method of lighting, drinking water, garbage disposal, solid waste disposal and licensed food vendors used.
- Parking plan — one designated spot for each five attendees.
- The zoning office, county sheriff, affected townships, county engineer, and the county attorney must sign off and list their concerns and recommendations.
The ordinance and the application are a full 11 pages long and quite detailed.
Letters to the editor have been submitted to the local papers in criticism of the new ordinance. One local township resident wrote, "We live in our rural area to be left alone. We have enough regulation. We pay for enough licenses. Many of our local auction sales, for example, would need this licensing."
The county board has taken no action at this time. The county board will meet as a committee of the whole on August 5 at 4 p.m. at the Transportation Building or August 12 at 8:30 a.m. at the Health and Human Services Building in Cloquet.