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County revising special events ordinance, could start charging for event permits

San Diego County’s Department of Public Works is working on an update to the county’s special events ordinance – and whatever changes are ultimately made will likely impact community events in unincorporated areas like Fallbrook.

The county has been working to get feedback on the new ordinance, which covers rules for event permits, since 2019.

County officials said in the draft ordinance that it costs hundreds of dollars to issue permits for events in the county right of way that blocks normal traffic flow – $423 for a standard special event and $272 for a neighborhood block party.

Previously, those permits were handled through the county’s community events coordinator, Roy Moosa, president of the Fallbrook Village Association, said. He said the county has lately been requiring community organizations to do more of the legwork in reaching out to the appropriate county entities to get permission for events, but permits have still remained free. If the county starts charging for permits that will be a dealbreaker for many events in Fallbrook, Moosa said.

“Now they’re going to charge fees for something we’ve never had to pay for before,” Moosa said.

But Murali Pasumarthi, traffic engineering manager for San Diego County, said the Department of Public Works’ draft ordinance is intended to simply give the county board of supervisors information on the cost to issue permits for community events and allow them to make a determination on whether anything should be charged; nothing is set in stone yet, he said.

“What we have in our revised ordinance is to tell our board of supervisors what it is costing the taxpayer for us to process these permits and providing options for our board of supervisors on whether to continue the free permits or to charge a fee,” Pasumarthi said.

The county is planning to continue community outreach on the ordinance through April and asked anyone with comments to email [email protected] or [email protected].

The county Department of Public Works will also be holding a public workshop at its office, Thursday, March 19, from 2-3 p.m. to discuss the updates and address any concerns.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at [email protected].


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