City to discuss special event permitting process, net meter policy for solar power

Protesters dance in front of St. George City Hall, St. George, Utah, Nov. 6, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The City Council will be discussing the city’s special events permitting process during a work meeting Thursday. The permitting process recently came under public scrutiny in the wake of a dance that was shut down by police in October. Though the city has no actual anti-dancing ordinance, St. George has been the brunt of “Footloose” jokes due to a perceived hostility toward such activities.

The City Council will also be discussing its net metering policy in regards to solar power use.

Permit presentation

Rules regarding the city’s permitting process have come into question since St. George Police officers broke up a would-be dance event at the Fiesta Fun Center Oct. 25. Officers shut down the event due to alleged permit violations on the part of Jared Keddington, event promoter for Heart of Dixie, which organized the Halloween party the dance was a part of.

Read more about police shutting down the dance at Monster Mash Halloween party here.

Currently the city requires that special events be presented to the city for approval 30 days before the event is to take place. City staff has said this is to ensure the city and any associated third parties have a chance to review everything in detail before sending a permit application to the City Council for final approval.

Some of the factors the council considers relate to where the event will take place, how many people are expected to attend, if there is adequate sanitation, whether the immediate area would be negatively impacted by noise and traffic, and so forth. In short, they consider the general safety of the event attendees and others already in the area.

We’re going to hear from our city staff researching what other cities have done for their special event permits,” Mayor Jon Pike said.

The presentation will include cities in Utah as well as out of state, Pike said. They will be looking at whether or not the city councils or the city departments approve the permits, what number of participants may trigger the need for city council approval, and so on.

“All those different criterion are what we’ll be looking at,” Pike said.

He said it may take a meeting or two to hash out any potential changes in the permitting process, or it may not. The City Council may have a clear direction of where it wants to go that night. The city approves numerous events – including those with dancing – on a regular basis. If anything, the city may be able to at least streamline the process, Pike said.

“We don’t know if there will be large changes or small changes,” he said. “If we can make things a little easier, we will.”

News about the October incident at Fiesta Fun hit the national news and was even mentioned on Saturday Night Live. A dance protest on the steps of the St. George Offices was also held Nov. 6 that drew a large crowd and gained statewide media coverage.

Net metering policy

The City Council will also be discussing the city’s net metering policy related to St. George power customers using solar power.

Pike said some residents using solar power also want to use city power as a backup. Because of this the city is looking at what charges and fees would be appropriate for such an arrangement.

“Even though they use solar power, they still need to use the (city) utility,” said René Fleming, energy services coordinator for the city.

Fleming said an increasing number of people have installed solar systems on their homes in recent years, and in some cases are zeroing out their power bills for the year as they shift to green, renewable power. However, solar users still use the city utility and infrastructure and need to pay for that use, she said.

There is also a concern of nonsolar customers effectively subsidizing solar users, Fleming said. In order to address these concerns, city staff will be presenting the City Council with possible options on how to address the issue in the future.

Other business

The City Council will be meeting at the Royal Oaks Park at 1250 N. 1400 W. at 4 p.m. Thursday to dedicate the park. (See ed. note)

Following the dedication the council will relocate to the St. George City Offices at 175 East 200 South at 5 p.m. to discuss special event permitting and net metering policy.

Ed. note: Park address corrected.

Related posts

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Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • My Evil Twin December 10, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Well now, maybe this means that you CAN fight city hall. To me, this entire mess over dancing was a confusing cluster uh you know what I mean.
    The event was supposedly approved by somebody in the city government, and the event holder had the paperwork to prove it. Then the powers that be, in this case SGPD, came along with some type of hand written notice that dancing was not approved.
    I have no dog in this fight. I don’t live in St. George, I don’t know the event holder, and I’ve never been to the location it was held at, other than to drive by. But with the conflicting statements and reports, it is confusing. So just maybe the city council can figure out a way for this to not happen again.

    • GOMER PYLE December 11, 2014 at 2:00 am

      Your don’t live here and yet you come on here and make ignorant comments about this. City and it’s residents and you make ignorant comments about some of the citizens that post here. Who died and put you in charge..? how bout you spend your time dealing with your own community no offence intended you don’t live here and we don’t care what you think…..

      • My Evil Twin December 11, 2014 at 8:38 am

        I said I do not live in ST. GEORGE. I do live in Dixie, and you need to see a doctor about your piles, Gomer. OBTW, my comments are certainly more intelligent than yours are, ZonkerB by another name.

  • tight magic undies December 10, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Even Nazis think you are uptight.

    • My Evil Twin December 11, 2014 at 8:39 am

      So now you are a Nazi and know what they think? ZonkerB by another name.

    • Soaponarope December 12, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Nazi’s have no use for people like him

  • koolaid December 11, 2014 at 2:23 am

    “No actual anti-dancing ordinance…” What would you call it then when businesses tell their patrons they can’t dance because the police will shut them down? Why do businesses already zoned for crowds of people need a special blessing from the city for their patrons to dance? For a place where people don’t want more government, this city seems to have excessive government and some ridiculous laws.

  • Billy Madison December 11, 2014 at 6:21 am

    I doubt much will change. Their attitude is reflected in; “If we can make things a little easier, we will.”. To make things “a little” means a small amount, minimal effort, or in other words, just more lip service to appease the unsettled but still rule with an iron fist backed up by guys with guns and sticks.
    It’s no wonder that people despise authority.

  • Bruce Raftery December 11, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Maybe you could take your “party” to Washington? No, that ‘s right you’ve been asked nto come back there. Oh well!

  • beerbelly December 11, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    There is no such address as 1250 N. 1400 South. Anybody who has lived in Utah more than a few months could tell you that.
    What is the correct address of the Park Dedication, Please?

    • Cami Cox Jim December 11, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Thank you for writing in. The address has been corrected in the story, but I’ll give it to you here, as well: 1250 N. 1400 West.

  • mo ferguson December 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I tend to agree with BILLY MADISON. Nothing will really change with the Council’s stand on this issue. Ultimately, the council members will NOT give up the power they so relish and exert over the community. Only way to change the City’s dancing ordinance… to change the make-up of the council itself. There will be other elections…..keep this in mind when (and IF) you go vote. If you don’t vote, don’t complain….simple as that.

    • My Evil Twin December 11, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      While agree with your basic premise of “don’t vote, then don’t complain,” there are certain exceptions to it. Those of us who don’t live in St. George, obviously can’t vote in St. George city elections. Although we are very directly affected by the decisions made there. Particularly when it comes to events we might attend.

      • Soaponarope December 12, 2014 at 10:36 pm

        Were glad you don’t live in St George and we’re glad you can’t vote here we are so better off for that by all mean. Please stay out of St George that won’t hurt our feelings any

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