Official Application and Review Process Expected to Assist in Planning and Communication for Future Events
In the wake of a series of recent activities, the Town of Marion has adopted a formal process to assist the community in planning and preparing for any future events.
Marion Police Chief John Clair presented a draft document to the Marion Town Council at their regular meeting on Monday, July 20, 2020, and it was unanimously approved. The document detailed recommendations from the American Civil Liberties Union, "best practices" from other communities that have already adopted a formal process, local and state legal counsel and town staff. From that information, the team developed a set of rules and regulations to assist Marion to be better prepared to handle the staffing necessary and the overall impact for special events organized by people and organizations other than the ones officially held by the Town.
"Our goal is to provide First Amendment rights to every citizen," said Clair. "And at the same time, we will protect our community. This process will allow we can do both simultaneously, and by now having an official application and procedure, Marion is far better prepared to assess the needs in advance and to be able to effectively plan and communicate with our businesses and our citizens. We followed the ACLU guidelines, consulted our legal staff, and gathered information from other communities to come up with this plan."
The short application provides basic information, including contact information, type of event, areas and services requested, dates and times. The Town of Marion voted to allow the police chief to review all applications and to schedule events. In the case the police chief were to deny a permit, the council allows review by the town manager, and finally the full town council.
"We want to be as inclusive as we can," said Chief Clair, "but also be prepared to do all we can to maintain safety and lessen interruptions for our businesses and our citizens. By having this basic information, we can assess what we need as a town and be prepared to provide a quality experience for all concerned."
The Marion Event Permit and regulations information is available at www.marionva.org/permits-and-applications, and is effective immediately.