New rules for Metro Park nearly the same as 1993 resolution
After more than 50 hours of public, noticed meetings and even more hours of research time poring through city records, legislation will be introduced at the Sept. 24 City Council meeting to regulate the use of Metropolitan Park.
If it sounds familiar it's because the new legislation is substantially the same as a council resolution detailing use of the riverfront park that has been on the books since 1993.
That was the report given Wednesday by council member Lori Boyer to the council's Ad Hoc Committee on Metropolitan and Urban Parks. Boyer discovered the 20-year-old document while researching the records of the Parks and Recreation Department.
"It's sad the City Council in 1993 went through this whole exercise. It disappeared into never-never land," Boyer said.
City Assistant General Counsel Paige Johnston, who drafted the new legislation, said some changes have been made compared to park rules currently in use.
Music festivals will be allowed to use the park until 10 p.m. on Sunday instead of 9 p.m. and until 11 p.m. if the following Monday is a holiday. Friday and Saturday performances will remain allowed until 11 p.m.
If a performance is delayed in starting by inclement weather, the performance may conclude as late as 30 minutes past the allowed cutoff time.
Johnston said the proposed legislation would require promoters to choose from two methods of sound level monitoring: accept the city's existing regulations on sound levels inside the park or employ "sound steering" – directing sound away from nearby neighborhoods along the Northbank and Southbank. If the second option is chosen, the promoter will be subject to the city's existing regulations for sound levels outside the park, Johnston said.
"People can hear it without it being in violation," said Steve Pace, city Environmental Quality Division chief engineer, of the second option.
Boyer said the council will review and adopt rental rates for the city park and the ordinance will expire 12 months after it is enacted. That, she said, would allow the ordinance to be renewed or amended, based on data collected in the first 12 months.
"We might have to adjust the sound level standards for Metropolitan Park," Boyer said.
The proposed ordinance requires promoters to pay for the cost of the city monitoring sound levels.
After the meeting, Boyer said the city having a resolution for 20 years instead of an ordinance probably led to lax enforcement. Administration and staff changes over the years likely led to the rules evolving over the years as well, she said.
"We are drawing this to a close. I hope it's adopted and not forgotten just because the park runs smoothly for a couple of years. Let's make Metropolitan Park a jewel," said Boyer.