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Charlottesville City Council Updates Language to Permit Regulations

Posted: Updated: Mar 06, 2018 11:27 PM
Charlottesville City Council Charlottesville City Council
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Charlottesville City Council is adopting some new permit regulations to prevent events like the Unite the Right rally from ever happening again.

On Tuesday, February 20, councilors heard from the public on the changes and some say it's still not enough.

Back in December, these new suggestions for filing a permit were first brought into consideration. On Tuesday night, those recommendations came back in front of council for some edits.

The changes would make "holding or using any prohibited item" punishable by a class 4 misdemeanor.

Items that would be prohibited at special events include law enforcement or military-like clothing that could imply that a person wearing them is with law enforcement.

Some of the other recommended changes to filing permits for special events also include open flame restrictions. New language adds that the definition of an "open flame" does not include handheld candles when used for ceremonial purposes.

“I just feel that this is very much a common sense approach, it also does bring into the decision making, the intention behind the use of the flame,” says City Councilor Kathy Galvin. “And I think it will also not preclude other types of gatherings with candles that we didn't want to prohibit."

People also need to give advance notice when filing for a permit. Thirty days’ notice is required if the event does not require street closings or public safety personnel, and 45 days’ notice if an event does require those items.

Council also voted to change the small group exemption number to 50.

That means groups of 50 or fewer are not required to file a permit. City Council voted 4 to 1 in favor of all of the amendments.

Mayor Nikuyah Walker voted against.

Councilor Galvin, among others, is asking City Manager Maurice Jones to speed up an interim report on how the city can react in the future if another rally does occur. She stressed that preparation is key.

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